WATCH: Daycare worker pushes 4-year-old girl to ground several times
Mother wants everyone held accountable for what they “did and did not do”
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A Jonesboro mom feels betrayed after seeing video of a daycare worker shoving her child to the ground multiple times.
Angela Artis says she’s tried everything and still hasn’t gotten the answers she needs and now she’s turning to whoever will listen.
It all started with a call from her daughter’s teacher at KidSPOT Learning Center, 1801 Grant Ave., DayDreana Fowler.
“February 11th. I remember it like it was yesterday,” Artis said.
Artis says ironically this was her daughter’s last day at the program before starting at the new school and she remembers Fowler saying, “I guess she is trying to go out with a bang.”
These calls were not unusual, Artis said.
She said Fowler repeatedly told her of certain behaviors her four-year-old daughter would exhibit, causing her to have trouble in the classroom. Many times, Artis would then punish her daughter by taking away her tablet and snacks.
Something she now regrets.
“I was hurt because this teacher, I put my trust in. I believed that she was helping my child and that she would help me correct my child,” Artis said.
Artis originally missed Fowler’s first call on Feb. 11, eventually Fowler got a hold of her.
“She told me that my daughter was having a really horrible day. She threw two shoes at two kids, hit them in the head, and threw a chair at her,” Artis said. “That was an alarm for me to go to the school to see what’s going on and that’s what I did.”
When she first arrived at the daycare, Artis watched her child from afar and then took the 4-year-old on a short drive.
She says during that ride she asked her daughter, “What’s going on? What happened? Did you do these things?”
Artis says her daughter cried the entire time and didn’t explain what happened, in fact, her daughter wanted to return to the daycare to play with her friends.
Upon returning, Artis requested the video from the classroom to see her daughter’s behavior.
Hours later, the daycare provided her with the classroom video.
After watching it, she demanded her baby be removed from the class immediately.
Below is the full unedited classroom video. The faces of children have been blurred.
She says the teacher went on to stay in the classroom even after the daycare’s administrators saw the video.
Artis says that day, the daycare told her “not to worry”, it would take care of everything including contacting the child abuse hotline.
Tuesday, KidSPOT released this statement:
KidSPOT Learning Center takes very seriously the trust that parents and guardians place in us to
provide a safe and thriving environment for all of the children participating in our programs. In
this regard, KidSPOT takes all appropriate steps to hire highly qualified staff members. Upon
learning of the allegations surrounding an incident that occurred on February 11, 2022, KidSPOT
immediately contacted the Child Abuse Hotline. KidSPOT was informed that the incident was
not a reportable event. Nevertheless, based upon our own investigation, KidSPOT terminated the
KidSPOT subsequently learned that a second employee was reported to the Child Abuse Hotline
regarding the same incident, and that an investigation is currently underway. KidSPOT stands
ready and willing to assist with any and all related investigations conducted by the Arkansas
Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services, and any other
investigating agency. Due to state and federal confidentiality laws, KidSPOT is not permitted to
offer any additional response at this time.
There was another daycare worker in the room at the time of the incident. She could be seen watching as the events unfolded.
KidSPOT says “due to state and federal confidentiality laws” it could not confirm if that worker had been terminated.
Artis says it’s up to KidSPOT to decide who is fit to work in the classroom.
“This is why I feel like the daycare should be held accountable for getting people who are qualified to work in the classroom, not just there for a ration count,” Artis said.
She says since this happened, she’s reached out to everyone including several city leaders.
So far, no one has helped.
Artis says many in the community have either pushed back, vouched for the daycare, didn’t return her call, or told her “It’s not as serious as you think.”
“I’m going through so much fight to get justice for my four-year-old,” Artis said. “My baby.”
But, the Department of Human Services has taken action.
“DHS did tell me that they were founded to have caused abuse and neglect. They were founded and that paperwork is being sent over to Little Rock on their part to be inputted into their system,” Artis said.
Region 8 News reached out to DHS to confirm if Fowler had been placed on its maltreatment registry.
Arkansas DHS Public Information Director Gavin Lesnick said “Child maltreatment investigations are confidential by law, and checks of the registry are available only to certain individuals under Arkansas law including child protective entities, employers, and licensing agencies.”
Lesnick explained that individuals who have access to the registry include employers conducting a background check. He also said if one is placed on the maltreatment registry there was a true finding in a child maltreatment case and more details can be found on DHS’ website.
While Artis wants everyone held responsible, her biggest concern is her daughter’s well-being.
“The first couple of weeks she did cry a lot at night,” Artis said. “I pray that my family is not retaliated against in this community about speaking out, advocating not just for my child, but for the other children.”
Artis’ daughter has started at a new school. Her new teacher says the four-year-old struggles with structure, something Artis says KidSPOT did not address.
Artis says the biggest challenge has been getting her daughter to trust her new teacher but also tell her teacher when she’s not feeling good, when she’s sad, or when she’s upset.
Region 8 News reached out to Fowler. She declined to comment.
On the day this incident happened, she did write an incident report saying in part: “She kept charging at me and I don’t remember pushing her at all or touching her I was trying to keep her from hitting.”
Artis did file a report with Jonesboro police.
As of now, Fowler faces a misdemeanor charge of second-degree assault. Her first court date is April 18. Artis plans to be there.
“I would like everyone to be held accountable for what they did and did not do. There need to be more audits, inspections, investigations, and either pop-ups at these facilities. Not just KidSPOT but all facilities,” Artis said. “Parents are trusting that these teachers are taking care and providing a safe environment.”
Copyright 2022 KAIT. All rights reserved.