Two daycare employees in South Carolina are accused of running a child fight club, where they allegedly encouraged toddlers to assault each other.
Ericka Sherai’ Jones. 27, and Serena Caldwell, 56, were arrested on Thursday. Caldwell was charged with 15 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and 15 counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. Jones was hit with 14 counts of the same charges.
Both women were employed as daycare workers at Kids Unlimited of Prosperity in Newberry County, South Carolina.
Last month, a child who attended the daycare allegedly informed his mother that he was told to hit another child by staff at Kids Unlimited of Prosperity.
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster told WIS-TV the daycare workers “encouraged and directed other students to fight or exhibit violence toward other students and allowed the violence to proceed without correction.”
Investigators believe at least 14 children were commanded by Jones and Caldwell to slap, push, shove, and hit one another. The kids involved in the child fight club were said to be between the ages of three and four.
Upon hearing the disturbing accusations, the Kids Unlimited of Prosperity daycare immediately reviewed security video. The daycare then fired the employees and notified the police. The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Department of Social Services launched an investigation into the accusations.
“The daycare did exactly what the law says and maybe more, they went above board,” the sheriff said. “When they found out about it, they didn’t intend to take care of this on their own.”
Foster explained that Jones and Caldwell told the children that the fights were a “means of punishment or to entice them to follow rules.”
Foster wondered, “What were you thinking?”
“I have no idea who would think that that was any way appropriate to encourage three and four-year-old children to participate in violent acts, regardless of what they thought it would do,” he added.
“We’ve had daycare workers that have assaulted children, and daycare workers that may have taken punishment a bit too far, but nothing like this,” Foster noted. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”
Foster noted that none of the injuries sustained by the toddlers were serious, but the emotional toll could be long-lasting.
The incident report stated that Jones may have recorded the incidents on her cell phone.
In addition to ordering the kids to fight each other, Caldwell is accused of striking one of the young children with a box of baby wipes.
On Thursday, magistrate judge granted Jones a $56,000 surety bond, and Caldwell a $60,000 surety bond.
The former daycare workers were released on conditions that included not contacting the victims in this case, not contacting any minors who may be in need of care, and they are prohibited from leaving the state unless they obtain permission from the solicitor’s office.
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!
Newberry County daycare workers accused of inciting kids to fightwww.youtube.com