HOMESTEAD (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned a “longtime” employee of a Homestead day care facility has resigned after two mothers have complained that their three-year-old daughters were spanked by that same employee.
The incidents reportedly happened last Friday at the Chapman Partnership Early Childhood Center South at 28205 SW 125th Avenue. Both of the incidents are mentioned in an Accident/Incident Report Form from the Community Action Agency, Head Start/Early Head Start Division of Miami-Dade County.
The center is under the jurisdiction of Miami-Dade Public Schools. Schools spokesman John Schuster told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench in an exclusive interview that both cases have been referred to the Department of Children and Families and Miami-Dade Schools Police, which will see if either case involves a battery.
According to the incident report in this case, the child was injured in the buttocks and she told an employee that she was crying because she had been spanked.
“School Board policy strictly forbids corporal punishment,” Schuster told D’Oench. “Well it’s definitely a concern. It’s not only a violation of school policy but there are very small children involved and that’s equally troubling.”
D’Oench also spoke to one of the three-year-old girls who says she was spanked and her mother. The child referred to the employee as a teacher but Schuster said she was an infant and toddler center assistant who was a “longtime employee” identified as Susana Calderon.
“The teacher spanked me on the bootie,” said three-year-old Tyla Irby. “She said go back to sleep. And when I went to sleep, she spanked me.”
“Did that hurt you?” asked CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
The child nodded her head.
“How many times did she spank you?” asked D’Oench. “Once, twice?” The child held up five fingers, indicating five times. She also pointed to her buttocks where she said she was struck.
“I believe exactly what my daughter said, that she was spanked,” said the child’s mother, Trineca Griffin. “I don’t feel like it’s appropriate and it’s not right for any teacher to put their hand on a child. She needs to be fired because there needs to be some consequences behind this and I want some justice.”
Calderon’s address was not released and attempts to reach her were not successful.
Schuster said a “preclusion notice” had been placed in Calderon’s file, meaning she would not be allowed to return to any other Miami-Dade Public schools facility.
D’Oench spoke to the mother of the second child. Dominique Willis said her three-year-old daughter Normayia Mayfield was also spanked on Friday by Calderon. “My daughter told me Miss Suzy did it,” she said. “And this was not right.”
Schuster said the school system was looking into a complaint that that second mother’s child had been spanked twice. He also said that there was a witness in that case.
According to the incident report in the case, “The child was inappropriately directed by classroom staff. It was observed by a staff person that the child was inappropriately re-directed during lunch time (spanked). The parent was informed that teaching staff was immediately removed from classroom and no longer employed.”
D’Oench spoke with Willis as she was meeting with John Abramson, an attorney with the Legal Center of Homestead. Abramson said he had spoken with both mothers. It is not known if any legal action will be taken.
Griffin has kept her daughter away from the daycare facility this week and is not sure if she will allow her to return.
“I don’t want my child at a school that is not safe,” she said. “I really don’t want my child to go back to that place.”
She said just one spank is too much for a defenseless child.
“And while this happened on Friday, I did not find out about it until Monday,” she said.
She said all parents should speak to their children every day.
“They should ask them when they come home, what did they do at school? How did your teacher talk to them and did anything happen to them in a daycare.
I think parents should ask that when their kids come home from school,” she said.
Schuster also told D’Oench that it is not known if either incident was captured by a surveillance camera at the Chapman Partnership Early Childhood Center South.