Missouri Teachers Who Allegedly Held Toddler 'Fight Club' Are Charged
A mother is suing the facility where the fights took place.
Two Missouri day care workers who held what one mother called a “fight club” at a preschool are now being charged in connection with the incident.
Mickala Guliford, 28, and Tena N. Dailey, 22, have been charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child creating a substantial risk. The pair of teachers allegedly “encouraged and directed the children to engage in fistfights with each other,” court documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch state.
Disturbing video captured a December 2016 brawl at Adventure Learning Center in St. Louis, in which one toddler can be seen punching another as their teachers watch. One teacher can even be seen jumping with apparent enthusiasm.
According to documents released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Guliford told the center's director, Jennifer Scott, that the children "were bored."
"We ran out of things to do," Guliford allegedly said, according to the documents. “It did not last more than three or four minutes. ... No children got hurt but it was still a bad judgment call on my part,” Guliford said.
One mother, Nicole Merseal, is suing the facility. Merseal had previously said she was frustrated by authorities' lack of action after she complained about her then-4-year-old son being made to take part in the brawls.
"My son was very afraid," Merseal told ABC News. "He didn't understand why his best friends beat him up.”
Merseal is seeking $25,000 in damages.
Both Guliford and Dailey were fired after the incident. Attorneys are not listed for either woman and they have not yet entered pleas to the charges.
The city's Department of Health and Senior Services conducted an investigation upon learning of the incident, according to a statement released to ABC News.
"Upon learning of the incident, the facility director fired the two staff, reported the incident to the proper authorities, and wrote an incident report to document the information," the statement reads. "The facility also informed parents about the incident and the actions taken.
"The Section for Child Care Regulation’s report concluded that licensing rules were violated and requested that the facility take additional steps to ensure staff were trained and knowledgeable about age-appropriate activities for children. The facility completed the corrective measures in April 2017."
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