Two New Jersey day care workers accused of instigating scuffles among young children as part of what one compared to the movie “Fight Club” pleaded not guilty Friday to child abuse charges.
Erica Kenny, 22, of Cranford, New Jersey, and Chanese White, 28, of Roselle, entered their pleas on fourth-degree child abuse charges at a hearing.
Kenny also faces a charge of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child after prosecutors say she recorded video of the Aug. 13 fights and shared them with friends through Snapchat. In the video, she compares the fights to the 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, authorities said.
Union County investigators said about a dozen boys and girls are shown in the clips shoving one another to the ground and trying to hit one another. The children apparently didn’t suffer any serious injuries.
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Kenny said at the hearing that she had just filled out paperwork for a public defender. White said she was still seeking a lawyer. Both refused to comment to reporters.
After the workers were charged Tuesday, the Lightbridge Academy center in Cranford said in a statement that it was “shocked and saddened by this isolated incident.”
Center officials said they learned of the allegations in mid-August and suspended the workers. They were later fired.
Several parents whose children attended the center said they were outraged to learn of the allegations. But many also praised the center for the way it handled the situation.