My Daughter’s Daycare Teacher Has Been Charged With Abuse

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When I learned all of this, my heart sank. I asked the ex-employee, a very wonderful young lady I’ll call Lyla, if she had ever seen anything happen to my daughter.

“No. Oh no. If I had seen anything, you would know about it.” Lyla, and several of the other teachers, seem to have a very strong bond with my daughter, and I trust all of them. Still, I wondered why they didn’t report Jessie sooner.

“We tried,” Lyla said. “It’s tricky, because you have to have evidence, and all of the things we told the daycare director were just hearsay. We would try to correct Jessie and tell her not to be so mean to the kids, but she didn’t listen. She’s crazy. Since she got fired, she’s been calling in every day to ‘report’ things we’ve supposedly done because she’s angry about being let go. She said I threw a baby down in a crib, supposedly after they installed the cameras. When the director asked me about it, I said, okay, let’s sit down and watch the footage! I’ll bring popcorn and we’ll make a thing of it.”

I smiled. Lyla is one of the most naturally kindhearted people I’ve ever met, an old soul in a 20-year-old’s body. She went on to tell me about the other toddler teacher who was let go, Laura. Laura had supposedly left a bruise on a child. A part of me wants to believe that could have been a case of terrible timing, because it’s not hard to accidentally leave bruises on a wriggly toddler during a diaper change, but it was still unsettling to have both of my daughter’s teachers (and many of her peers) disappear at once. As far as I know, Laura has not been formally charged with anything.

Since this ordeal, the daycare has hired a wonderful new girl who my daughter took to right away. My little girl waves “bye bye” and smiles at her every day, which is a good sign, I think. The remaining teachers are loving and my daughter seems joyous in their presence.

Still, learning all of this about Jessie and Laura made me seriously question my judgment of character. Like I said, I sensed something was a little off about Jessie, but I would have never imagined her capable of terrorizing a child. In my state, most of the daycares around don’t require that their teachers have a child development degree. Those that do are out of my price range. But truthfully, a degree isn’t some magic force field against abuse, either.

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for not “seeing” this earlier, because I couldn’t have known it was going on. Like I said, there were no bruises and no serious behavioral changes in my daughter that would clue me in.

But I still fear that my daughter can’t unsee the things she saw, and that perhaps her faith in other adults has diminished a bit. All I can do is pay close attention to how she responds to her current care providers and continue to give her the love and structure she needs when she’s here at home.

(photo: Shyne School)

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