A report by the Virginia Department of Social Services says two teachers at a child-care center routinely engaged in cruel treatment of toddlers in their care, including stepping on their toes and giving full pressure sprays from a water hose.
Prince William County Police say they have launched a criminal investigation of reported abuse inflicted at the Minnieland Academy at The Glen in Woodbridge.
The department investigated following a complaint. It cites cruel treatment over a six-month period this year by two staff members who were not identified by name.
According to the report, the two staffers encouraged fights among the toddlers in their care and dunked children known to be scared of water into wading pools.
Minnieland says it fired the teachers.
The story was first reported by insidenova.com.
Statement from Minnieland Academy:
Minnieland Academy deeply regrets the incidents that occurred at Minnieland at the Glen during the past few months. Minnieland has a zero tolerance policy for any behavior that results in the physical and emotional mistreatment of children. The inappropriate behavior of the teachers occurred without management’s knowledge and we reacted quickly once the administration of the center was made aware of the incidents. The teachers were immediately terminated and Child Protective Services and the Division of Licensing were notified. In addition, the individuals who witnessed the acts that gave rise to the violations, but failed to report them to management or CPS, are no longer with the company. Criminal and central registry background checks on all of the individuals involved in the incidents were conducted before they were hired, and no criminal history was indicated.
We are cooperating with CPS and Licensing in the ongoing investigation. Additionally, we have met with all parents of those children involved and are available to discuss this situation with any parent who may have a question or concern, even those whose children were not involved in the incidents.
All Minnieland staff members, including the ones involved in these incidents, were initially trained on recognizing and reporting abuse and neglect. A corrective action plan has been developed reinforcing with staff members the important responsibilities they have to report any suspicious behavior to the center management. All staff members at Minnieland at the Glen must undergo annual mandated state Social Services Child Abuse and Neglect online training. We are also providing additional training pieces regarding positive guidance and managing difficult behaviors. Center management is performing hourly walk-throughs of the building and documenting them.
Minnieland Academy deeply regrets this incident occurred at our center and sincerely apologizes for any harm that resulted from these offences. Providing a safe and loving environment in which children can learn and grow has been our mission for more than four decades and we are committed to taking all actions necessary to insure we meet this objective.
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