Missouri

Kids brawled in day care ‘fight club’ as teacher cheered, says Missouri mom who’s suing

‘Fight club’ at St. Louis daycare caught on video by students

A 'fight club' that was seemingly encouraged by teachers at Adventure Learning Center in St. Louis, Mo. was captured on video by students in December of 2016. Editor's note: The video has been blurred to protect the identities of the students.
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A 'fight club' that was seemingly encouraged by teachers at Adventure Learning Center in St. Louis, Mo. was captured on video by students in December of 2016. Editor's note: The video has been blurred to protect the identities of the students.

Teachers at a Missouri day care put large, green “Hulk Hands” on children and encouraged them to brawl in a “fight club” — and it was all caught on video.

While the fights took place two years ago, a Missouri mom filed her lawsuit against Adventure Learning Center Gravois this year. Nicole Lashley had three children at the St. Louis day care when the “fight club” occurred on Dec. 7, 2016, the lawsuit says. The mom’s legal last name is Merseal.

Her youngest child, age 4, was “instructed ... to fight another child,” according to the lawsuit, and the other child was told to “punch and hit” her son.

That fight was recorded on the iPad of Lashley’s 10-year-old child, ABC reported. The 10-year-old is an “after-care student,” according to the lawsuit.

About 30 minutes of fights were also recorded by the day care’s surveillance cameras, according to FOX2.

In the iPad video obtained by McClatchy, a teacher is seen putting a “Hulk Hand” on two boys as the rest of the kids surround them in a circle and cheer.

Then, at the teacher’s approval, the first punch was thrown.

A few more punches were thrown before one of the kids fell to the ground. The other student continued to punch the boy in the head.

A teacher could be seen jumping up and kicking her foot in the air in excitement.

“Oh, oh, oh, oh!” a child exclaimed as one of the boys was continuously punched in the face. Another student tried to break apart the fight, then the video came to an end.

Lashley’s son then texted her the video of his brother fighting, FOX2 reported.

“When I got the video, I was just in complete shock. I immediately left work,” Lashley said, according to ABC. “I also called the day care immediately and told them to go stop the fighting.”

She also called police, ABC reported, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services launched an investigation.

In the department’s “complaint investigation” report, it says “two separate children verified that fighting was allowed to take place,” and that “Hulk Hands” were used. The report was made on Dec. 8, 2016.

The lawsuit calls it a “fight club.”

Former staff member Mickala Guliford “verbally verified” that she and Tena Dailey allowed the children to fight at day care, the report says.

The director of the day care fired both teachers, according to a police report obtained by FOX2.

The “complaint investigation” says all staff and volunteers were required to get an hour of training on “developmentally appropriate activities” and the center was required o review policies, rules and regulations “regarding appropriate activities for children.” Both “corrective measures” were completed by April 2017.

But Lashley doesn’t think enough was done, according to ABC. That’s why she filed a lawsuit seeking at least $25,000.

“The day care should be held accountable,” she said, according to ABC. “They gave them a slap on the wrist.”

Adventure Learning Center Gravois or the teachers mentioned would not comment on the lawsuit, according to FOX2.

“It’s really hard to explain to a 4-year-old what is and isn’t normal especially when they have their teacher telling them that, you know, they have to do this,” Lashley said, according to ABC. “It took a long time for him to be comfortable in his new day care and to understand that they won’t make him fight. ... It’s really sad that he had to go through this.”

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