It’s hard to imagine the shock parents must have felt when they learned that employees of the school they were entrusting to care for their toddlers and kindergartners were running a “fight club,” pairing off their young charges against one another in playground brawls.
CBS New York reports that two former daycare workers — Erica Kenny, 22, and Chanese White, 28 — were behind the insidious arrangement at Lightbridge Academy in Cranford, N.J.. Evidence of the abusive acts was provided indirectly by Kenny, who reportedly shot videos of the fights and posted them to the app Snapchat.
Union County Prosecutor Grace Park told reporters, “About a dozen children — boys and girls between the ages 4 and 6 —[were] just fighting; throwing each other to the ground; hitting each other.”
The charges stem from Aug. 13, but investigators are looking into whether the fights were ongoing.
The Snapchat videos only last 10 seconds and then disappear, but investigators were able to find the video after someone recorded it.
“We don’t believe there were any serious injuries at this point, but we are still investigating the case,” Park said.
The school released a statement reading:
As parents and caregivers, we are shocked and saddened by this isolated incident and we have assisted the prosecutor’s office from the start of its investigation into this matter. While no children were physically harmed during this incident, we have a zero tolerance policy for anyone who acts in conflict with the core value of Lightbridge Academy – the safety and well-being of children.
Kenny and White have been charged with child abuse. Kenny also faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child. White faces up to 18 months in prison. Kenny could get up to five years.
It is still unclear if the women were doing this for their own perverse amusement or whether gambling was involved.
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