Missouri

Teachers wanted by police after Missouri day care ‘fight club’ lawsuit, records show

Two former day care teachers have been summoned to court after a Missouri mom filed a lawsuit regarding a day care “fight club,” records show.

A St. Louis Police Department spokesperson confirmed to McClatchy that the filings are in connection to the “fight club” that occurred two years ago.

Teachers at Adventure Learning Center Gravois put large, green “Hulk Hands” on children and encouraged them to brawl, which was caught on video.

The incident happened on Dec. 7, 2016, but mom Nicole Lashley, who had three children at the day care, filed a lawsuit against the center this year. The mom’s legal last name is Merseal.

Fox2 in St. Louis aired video of the kids fighting last week, leading to more than 19,000 people as of Monday signing an online Care2 petition “calling on St. Louis police to investigate the incident and file appropriate charges for endangering these children.”

The two teachers involved, Mickala Guliford and Tena Dailey, were fired but not prosecuted, according to Fox2. The TV station reported that the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office and the Missouri Department of Social Services have since reopened the investigation.

“It makes me happy,” Lashley told Fox2. “That’s exactly what we were hoping.”

The police department spokesperson referred McClatchy to online court records for all other information regarding the two summons that were filed.

The public records show that a criminal summons has been issued for both Guliford and Dailey. The summonses were filed on Monday, two days after a probable cause statement was filed.

Guliford is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 3, and Dailey is scheduled for Dec. 4, according to the database.

Here’s what was previously reported by McClatchy:

The fights

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

The 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.

According to her lawsuit, Lashley’s youngest child, age 4, was “instructed ... to fight another child,” and the other child was told to “punch and hit” her son. One teacher can be seen jumping in excitement.

In addition to the iPad footage, about 30 minutes of fights were also recorded by the day care’s surveillance cameras, FOX2 reported..

“My son was very afraid,” Lashley told ABC News. “He didn’t understand why his best friends beat him up. These are children that he’s been around for a couple years.”

The earlier investigation

ABC reported that she called police and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which launched investigations.

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.

“It did not last more than three or four minutes. ... No children got hurt but it was still a bad judgment call on my part,” Guliford said, according to ABC.

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 to 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, and that’s why she filed a lawsuit seeking at least $25,000.

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