Report: Teachers at Va. child-care center abusive

A social services inspector says the two Minnieland staffers punished the toddlers \'physically and emotionally\' for at least six months, but no one reported the incidents until August 2013. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Some parents question leaving their kids at the school

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 10:34 pm

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WOODBRIDGE, Va. — 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.

Records of the violations posted on the social services website detail the allegations:

  • “Since the Spring 2013, witnesses observing staff A and B pushing the toddlers, stick out their feet and tripping the toddlers, when toddlers were not wearing shoes, staff A would take them behind the diapering area and step on the toddlers toes. Witnesses reported that Staff A and B would find this humorous and entertaining.”
  • “In March or April 2013, witnesses observed staff B opened the adjoining door to the older infant room and told the infant room staff that she had just fed several toddlers flaming hot cheetos and to look at the toddlers cheeks as their faces were turning red. Witnesses stated that the children had a ‘surprised’ look on their faces and and their faces were red and looked hot.”
  • “Staff A and B were witnessed telling toddler A she was ugly and that her face and lips looked like a rat. Staff A and B would tell toddlers who had soiled their diapers to get away and that they stink.”(sic)

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Minnieland says it fired the teachers. In a statement on its Facebook page, the academy says others who witnessed the acts but did not report them also are no longer employed there.

See the full statement below:

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/or 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. We have met with the 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.

Minnieland Academy 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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