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After daughter repeatedly hit by child at Baker daycare, mom demands accountability

2 years 7 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, October 06 2021 Oct 6, 2021 October 06, 2021 10:27 PM October 06, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BAKER - One mom is asking for Scholarly Education of Precious Tots, a daycare on Harding Street, to face punishment after the daycare's video system captured her daughter being hit repeatedly by another child.

"I was very angry," Lakreisha Lawrence said. "I was very upset."

Daily, Lawrence checks in on her 18-month-old daughter periodically through the video system. As she was headed to pick up her child one afternoon last month, she saw the incident unfold as it happened.

"I'm watching her being hit by a child two or three times her size," Lawrence said. "Anger is setting in."

The video shows Lawrence arrive at the daycare a short while later. Once inside, she grabs her child and confronts the boy who was hitting her.

"Boy, don't put your hands on my baby like that no more," Lawrence is heard saying in the video. "Girl, he was punching her on her damn stomach," she responds to an employee outside.

Out of view of the camera, Lawrence and the employee can then be heard yelling at one another.

Lawrence said when she asked why no one was inside supervising, she was told the employee went outside for a few minutes.

The mom of four had previous issues with the daycare regarding how her daughter has been treated, but was able to resolve those with the daycare's owner.

However, the video of her child being hit was the final straw.

"My daughter had been hit 15 times, 14, 15 times," Lawrence said. "[The owner] never asked what happened, so yeah, this was my breaking point."

The daycare owner, Toccara Sept, declined an interview with WBRZ Wednesday. Through her attorney, she released a lengthy statement.

Lawrence says protecting her child was paramount, and that's why she reported what happened to the Department of Children and Family Services.

Wednesday, Sept provided WBRZ with a letter, dated Sept. 29, from DCFS. In the letter, the department says it concluded that it was "unable to investigate the situation because it does not meet the legal and policy definition of child abuse or neglect."

DCFS confirmed to WBRZ later Wednesday it had sent that letter, saying, "If a report does not meet the legal and policy definition of child abuse and neglect for which DCFS is responsible to investigate, this is the standard letter that is sent. However, as is our protocol, any additional information we receive could impact our decision making on a case."

DCFS also sent information on the report to the state Department of Education, which governs daycares and early learning centers.

WBRZ reached out to DOE Wednesday. A spokesman said the inquiry had been forwarded to the department's 'early childhood team.'

Lawrence has since taken her daughter out of this daycare but says she's still hoping for the center to be held accountable. She's coming forward, she adds to protect other children.

"[My daughter is] 18-months-old," Lawrence said. "She's defenseless. She can't defend herself. Nobody was in there supervising them. They should have never been left unattended."

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