An investigation is continuing after an alleged assault at a Fort Mill day care center, though no charges have been filed.
A Fort Mill man contacted the York County Sheriff’s Office after an incident Sept. 1. The following day, according to the incident report, the father received a video via email showing his child’s teacher at Fort Mill Preparatory Cooperative Preschool “throwing (the child) down” on a sleeping pad.
On Friday, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris said there was no update to an investigation to determine if the incident is a possible case of simple assault and battery.
The preschool posted a note from Director Christine Boatwright on Facebook just after the incident, stating Boatwright was calling parents and informing them of an accusation against a teacher. The post stated she met with the teacher and contacted child service authorities and law enforcement.
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“We also have decided to add cameras to the classrooms for accountability and peace of mind,” the online post reads.
On Sept. 4, Boatwright said there is a disconnect between what the video shows and misinformation circulating online. The teacher acted “not in an appropriate way” with the child, she said, but at no point caused physical harm to the child.
“At no point was the child slapped, ever,” Boatwright said. “At no point was the child thrown, ever. It just wasn’t done lovingly or friendly.”
Boatwright said the incident occurred in a room for 1-year-old children, when two boys still adjusting to a new schedule were having a hard time keeping still at nap time. The teacher in the video put the boys down several times before becoming frustrated and putting them down with more force, which was filmed by another employee.
Boatwright said the employee who filmed the incident shared it online rather than helping the teacher or telling the school, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. The teacher in the video was fired, she said.
“There’s no excuse for being rough with children,” Boatwright said.
Boatwright said many parents were upset that the teacher in the video was fired. No injuries or marks were left on the boys, she said. The boys did not cry during the incident, Boatwright said, and the school “followed complete protocol” in reporting the incident.
Including its after-school program, the school has about 80 students from 6 weeks to 12 years old. The school has been in Fort Mill for 13 years. Teachers are trained in a variety of first-aid procedures and have at least a state-required early childhood education credit. Most have degrees.
Boatwright said many more parents were upset by the filming and sharing of the video than have been upset with the school.
“Our parents are not leaving, because they know that teacher and they know our school,” she said. “I would love for every single person who has a concern about this school to come by and I’ll give them a tour.”
John Marks: 803-831-8166, @JohnFMTimes