HAMILTON, Miss. (HPD) — Regulators in Mississippi have opened an investigation after a video showing four daycare employees scaring children went viral on social media.
Videos posted on Facebook show a daycare worker at Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center in Hamilton wearing a Halloween mask and yelling at children who were “not cleaning up” or “misbehaving.”
Children can be seen and heard crying and sometimes running away from the employee wearing the mask, while another gives directions as to which children have behaved well or poorly. The employee in the mask is shown screaming inches from the children’s faces on occasion.
Sheila Sanders, who has owned the business for 20 years, said she was unaware of the videos as of Wednesday afternoon, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
Sanders said one video was shot in September and another on Tuesday. “No one came to tell me what happened in September,” he commented.
The behavior displayed by his former employees in the video, he said, is not tolerated.
“I contacted my attorney, and she has been involved,” Sanders said. “The people who did those acts are no longer with us. They got fired. I was not here at the time and was not aware that they were doing this. I don’t approve and never have. I just want to say it’s been fixed.”
The Mississippi State Department of Health and the Monroe County Police Department are investigating. Liz Sharlot, director of communications for the state health department, confirmed the investigation.
On Thursday morning, parents reacted to the videos as they dropped off their children for her care, expressing their support for the center.
“I know 100% that Mrs. Sheila, the owner and director, was not aware of this situation that was going on and as soon as she found out, all parties were immediately fired,” said Kimberly Smith, whose son can be seen on one of the videos.