Carepointe Academy Southwest has confirmed to WANE 15 that a teacher was fired for spanking a two-year-old boy in the classroom. The academy also tells WANE 15 the school’s director and another teacher have been placed on leave while a review takes place.
The incident happened on Jan. 9 at the Bass Rd. location.
In a statement, the academy said: “Laquesha Stewart, a preschool teacher at our academy, violated Carepointe Academy’s policies and spanked the bottom of a two-year-old child under her care one time in our preschool classroom.”
The statement goes on to say that the other teacher in the classroom who witnessed the incident, reported it to director Angel Ferrell moments after it happened. According to the statement, Ferrell fired Stewart the following day after confirming the report with surveillance video. Ferrell and the other teacher have also been placed on administrative leave, the school said.
The academy also tells WANE 15 it has asked the Indiana State Licensing Consultant to conduct an audit of the incident and its safety policies and procedures.
Logan Williams, the child’s father, said the academy’s director gave him the surveillance video after confronting her about what happened.
In the video, you can hear one teacher call two-year-old Landon to have his diaper changed. That’s when Stewart grabs him by the shoulder and takes him behind a changing table. You can hear a smack and the teacher scolding Landon telling him “not to eat out of the trash.” The boy then starts to cry.
“You can’t see it, but it’s almost just as bad,” Williams said. “You can hear it, you can hear the smack, you can hear the cries.”
Williams and his father, Rick, said they wanted to speak publically so other families could know what happened. They also want the academy to take further action against the director and the second teacher.
“I think investigating and looking into the director’s role in this and the kind of culture it has created is a step forward,” Williams said. “I’m glad to hear that’s the route they are going right now.”
Rick Williams posted the surveillance video on Facebook on Saturday. The video has been viewed more than 74,000 times.
“This was a small snapshot of the four months my grandsons were there,” Rick said. “If that teacher or both of those teachers felt comfortable enough to do this in the four months of getting to know my grandsons, what about the kids that have been going there for years? That’s a problem.”
Williams filed a police report, which the academy acknowledged in their statement to WANE 15. The school said that on Jan. 11, a police officer reviewed the video and took a report.
WANE 15 is not showing the video for legal reasons.
Below is the full statement from Carepointe Academy, Bass Road:
The first priority of Carepointe Academy is the physical, mental and emotional safety of the children entrusted to our care. We take the safety of children very seriously and have put in place practices, policies and procedures of the highest standards to protect children in our care from harm. This includes background checks for all teachers and video surveillance in every classroom.
When a situation occurs that breaches our standards of care, we take swift action to correct and prevent future occurrences.
On Jan. 9, 2019, at approximately 4:11 pm, Laquesha Stewart, a preschool teacher at our academy, violated Carepointe Academy’s policies and spanked the bottom of a two-year-old child under her care one time in our preschool classroom. Ms. Stewart’s coworker who witnessed the incident reported it to our director Angel Ferrell, moments after it occurred.
After confirming the report the following day through our video technology, Ms. Ferrell immediately and permanently released Ms. Stewart from employment from the academy. Subsequently, Ms. Ferrell reported the incident to the child’s parents, Child Protective Services, and the Indiana State Licensing Consultant. On Jan. 11, 2019, a law enforcement officer investigated the matter, reviewed the video footage and took a report.
At this point, we have no knowledge that this worker had ever struck any other child in our care.
Although unprecedented, we are greatly saddened by this occurrence at Carepointe Academy and are taking measures to ensure such incidents are never repeated. The academy is fully cooperating with the authorities. Further, we will be asking the Indiana State Licensing Consultant to conduct a thorough, independent audit of the incident and all of our child safety policies and procedures. We have also placed Ms. Ferrell and the co-teacher in the classroom on administrative leave while a review takes place.
Our academy will not tolerate abuse of any kind; and ensuring the health and safety of our children is of utmost importance. As we have in this situation, all allegations of abuse will be reported to the authorities.”
Nelson Eagle, Managing Director for Carepointe Academy Waynedale and Carepointe Academy North, also provided this statement:
The Carepointe Waynedale and Carepointe North child care centers are separate companies, not associated with Carepointe Southwest, with different owners and managers. We want to stress that we provide a safe and healthy environment in which children are treated with dignity and respect. We have no tolerance for mistreatment of any child for any reason, but strive to make every day a special day for every child.”