Charleston daycare under investigation after assault complaint


Detectives from the Charleston Police Department and the Department of Social Services are investigating a daycare facility in Charleston after a mom says a teacher there hurt her son when she aggressively shoved him into a classroom.

According to a police report from the Charleston Police Department, the complaint was filed against La Petite Academy of Charleston which is located on Nabors Drive on James Island.

Pamela Johnson, who filed the complaint, has been sending her son Zy'lon Wesley to daycare at La Petite Academy for a little more than a year.

"Over a year and it's been pretty okay," Johnson said. "I can't say it's been good or great, but it's been pretty okay."

Johnson said for the most part, her son likes the teachers at the facility, and she hasn't had many complaints until last month.

"He came and told me that a teacher 'slinged' him and he just broke down crying," Johnson said.

Johnson said her 3-year-old son uses the word "slinged" instead of "thrown," tossed" or "pushed."

Johnson said she complained to the daycare and the teacher was put on leave.

But eventually she came back, so Pamela filed a few other complaints.

"I reported it to you guys. I reported it to the detective. I reported it to DSS because something needs to be done not with just this school, but with this teacher as well," Johnson said.

A spokesperson from the Department of Social Services confirmed the department is actively investigating the incident.

"DSS is aware of the complaint and is investigating the matter," the DSS spokesperson said. "The agency will continue to work with and monitor the facility to ensure the safety and well-being of the children they serve."

La Petite Academy has a lot of daycare facilities, but at the James Island location, DSS has responded to 72 deficiencies since September 2015.

Those deficiencies include things like improper supervision, sanitation violations, hazards and other health and safety issues.

At least 13 of those reviews has been complaints sent to the department.

"You said there's a lot of reviews and complaints," Johnson said. "Something really needs to be done. If it's not through DSS it needs to be someone because enough is enough."

A spokesperson from La Petite Academy said any questions had to be directed to the specific facility where the incident occurred. La Petite Academy also released the following statement: 

We have strict policies and procedures to ensure the wellbeing of our children, and to make certain we meet or exceed state guidelines. We don’t tolerate deviation from those standards. Our teachers are trained in positive behavior guidance and redirection of children. We address any concern and take appropriate action as needed, working directly with those involved.

We have been partnering with the authorities as part of this process.  We take our responsibility seriously, and are committed to ensuring our children receive high quality early education and nurturing care. 

Requests for comment from the facility on James Island have not been returned.

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