MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A Cordova mom’s world shattered Tuesday when she said her 11-year-old son told her a day care worker at The Gentlemen and Ladies Learning Academy had been abusing him.
She knew something was strange when earlier in the day the employee called and offered to drive her son home and gave his phone number to her child.
“My son said he’s trying to be nice because he’s trying to get on his good side,” she said.
When she asked her child why a grown man needed to get on a child’s good side, she said he told her the teacher had been physically abusing him.
“I said, ‘What do you mean he’s been hitting you?’” she told WMC Action News 5. “And he said, ‘Well, he’s been hitting me for like two weeks now, but this week he really became aggressive and he was hitting me harder.’ And that’s when he pulled out his laptop and he showed me the video of that man choking him.”
What she saw horrified her and profoundly upset her son. In a 40-second exchange, captured on the boy’s computer, the day care worker put his hands around the young man’s neck and yanked his head backwards, multiple times, asking if he’s mad at him. The child can be heard begging the man to leave him alone.
“He’s terrified,” his mom said. “He didn’t sleep much last night. We’re going to see a psychiatrist. He’s terrified. He’s traumatized, and so am I because now I don’t know who I can trust with my kids.”
She says she immediately showed the video to the owner of the day care.
“He was speechless,” she said. “He said he didn’t know that that was going on. He said he was going to take care of it.”
The owner, she says, told her he fired the worker. When WMC Action News 5 called the Gentlemen and Ladies Learning Academy for more information, they told us “no comment.”
We can confirm the Department of Children’s Services is now investigating the incident. And this mortified mother also contacted Memphis Police and plans to press assault charges against the worker on Thursday. But she worries he’s not the only problem at the learning center.
“He was so comfortable with choking my child,” she said. “There’s no telling what other kids he’s been doing that too or what else is going on in the day care.”