An Arkansas day care worker has been charged with assault and the state’s human services department has launched a probe after video appeared to show the employee pushing a 4-year-old girl several times, officials said.
DayDreana Fowler was charged with the third-degree misdemeanor last month after a mother requested video surveillance footage of her daughter’s day at KidSPOT in Jonesboro.
Fowler called the mother, Angela Artis, on Feb. 11 to tell her that her daughter had “gone crazy,” according to a police report from the Jonesboro Police Department.
Artis went to the school to observe her daughter’s behavior and talk to her, the police report said.
Fowler “told me that my daughter was having a really horrible day. She threw two shoes at two kids, hit them in the head, and threw a chair at her,” Artis told NBC affiliate KAIT of Jonesboro. “That was an alarm for me to go to the school to see what’s going on and that’s what I did.”
After watching her daughter, Artis said she took the 4-year-old on a short drive, according to the news station. The girl cried the entire time and didn’t explain what happened.
When Artis returned her daughter to KidSPOT, which describes itself as “a unique program model that strives to serve the needs of all children,” she asked to view video footage of the day so that she could see her daughter’s behavior, according to the police report.
A supervisor called Artis back, telling her that her daughter had not acted out, but she did see a “teacher’s actions that were questionable,” the police report said.
Video obtained by KAIT appears to show Fowler, with a phone to her ear, push the child at least three times. The child flies backward and lands hard on her side the first time, according to the footage. Another teacher looks on. The police report said that Fowler also “jerks her up by one arm off the ground and drags her down to the office.”
NBC News does not know what happened before or after the alleged incident seen in the footage.
Fowler is due in court next month. It’s unclear if she has an attorney and efforts to reach her by phone were unsuccessful.
On the day of the alleged incident, Fowler described what she said happened in a school incident report obtained by KAIT.
“She kept charging at me and I don’t remember pushing her at all or touching her I was trying to keep her from hitting,” she wrote.
KidSPOT did not respond to NBC News’ requests for comments. In a statement released to KAIT, KidSPOT said Fowler had been fired.
“Upon learning of the allegations surrounding an incident that occurred on February 11, 2022, KidSPOT immediately contacted the Child Abuse Hotline. KidSPOT was informed that the incident was not a reportable event. Nevertheless, based upon our own investigation, KidSPOT terminated the subject employee,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Human Services told NBC News “there is an investigation in response to this incident on the facility licensing side, but that ... has not yet been completed. I don’t have additional information on that at this time.”
Artis had already planned to take her daughter out of KidSPOT. Feb. 11 was supposed to be her last day.
She said her daughter is having trouble trusting and communicating with her new teacher.
“There need to be more audits, inspections, investigations, and either pop-ups at these facilities. Not just KidSPOT but all facilities,” Artis told KAIT. “Parents are trusting that these teachers are taking care and providing a safe environment.”