Florida Day Care Owner Accused of Hitting 4-Year-Old with Spatula, Avoids Charges

Florida day care owner accused of hitting boy with spatula won't face charges

Brittany Henderson said she called police after her son had a bruise on his lip.

He told her he was hit in the face after getting into a fight with another boy at Titusville's J&A Joyful Hearts Academy.

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"It was gut-wrenching. I mean, it was just. I was appalled," Henderson said. "That was supposed to be someone that was caring for him, and (the day care was) supposed to be his safe haven."

The Florida Department of Children and Families said it conducted two inspections at the facility.

Inspection records said that the agency learned of allegations that the owner "hit the children with a spatula, flip flop and a belt."

The owner told WFTV on Tuesday that she never used physical force on the children.

The state attorney's office said it did not have enough evidence to file criminal charges.

"It is not a crime for a parent (or someone acting as the child care provider) to impose reasonable physical discipline, even though physical injury resulted from the punishment," the office said.

Henderson described the decision as sickening.

"He was hurt -- not just physically, but emotionally," she said. "This is just something that's probably going to stick with him for the rest of his life."

Inspection records said the day care also allowed a 12-year-old to watch an infant, and the owner hired a convicted felon.

Henderson said she hopes the state takes permanent action against the day care.

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