Catholic day care under investigation after classroom aide throws ball at child

Credit: Adam Berry

Credit: Adam Berry

A Catholic day care in Jacksonville, Florida is under investigation for allegations of inappropriate discipline after a mother claimed a teaching assistant hit her 4-year-old son with a ball.

She told Action News Jax the boy spent two days in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

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Action News Jax learned that aide was fired Friday morning, and a letter was sent to parents.

The letter said the teaching assistant was fired for violating the day care’s code of conduct, but the school claimed there was no malicious intent.

The mother, who didn’t want to be identified because there is an active investigation, said she pulled her son out of the day care, but he now goes to the church’s kindergarten.

She gave Action News Jax cellphone video of her son that was taken just days after he claimed an assistant teacher hit him in the face with a ball.

“He was jerking, he was blinking, he was humming, he was doing all these different things I’ve never seen him do and he’s almost five,” she said.

She said he spent two days in the hospital undergoing tests.

“They said everything was fine, but that when they experience stress or trauma they can react in this manner,” she said.

The woman said the problems started when she picked up her 4-year-old from Christ the King Child Care Center in July.

“He said, ‘Mommy someone hit me,’” she said.

That’s when she said she went to speak with the teaching assistant about what happened.

“I’ve been hit with a ball multiple times, and I’m not going to take it out on a kid,” she said.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is now investigating allegations of inappropriate discipline.

“I love my son to death and to know that someone hurt him, it’s not OK with me. It’s unsettling,” she said.

Action News Jax reached out to the Catholic day care and was told that the teaching assistant was immediately removed from the classroom.

“I’m thinking this entire time, what if this was your child?” she said.

Friday morning, about a month and a half after the alleged incident happened, the employee was terminated.

The mother said she thinks this should have happened back in July.

“How they handled everything was insane to me,” she said.

Action News Jax dug into the day care’s inspection records with the state and found three DCF violations since it opened in 2009.

They are all minor and had to do with paperwork and training.

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