Three Delaware day care employees have been accused of encouraging toddlers to fight each other while the children were under their care.
CBS Philly reported that Tiana Harris, 19, Lisa Parker, 47, and Estefania Myers, 21, employees of the Hands of Our Future Daycare in Dover, were arrested after a cellphone video emerged of them allegedly encouraging two 3-year-olds to fight in an organized battle.
Police said in the video one child is heard yelling, "He’s pinching me!" A day care worker allegedly responded, "No pinching, only punching."
"It was a difficult video to watch," Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump told FoxNews.com. "One of the kids involved ran over to one of the adults for protection, but she turned him around back into the fight."
The video was taken in March, Stump said. Two of the suspects could be seen encouraging the fight, while the other filmed it with her cellphone camera, he said.
Stump said neither of the toddlers suffered serious injuries, but said it was "painfully clear that they were hurting each other."
"The bottom line is that the kids were whaling on each other and the adults were doing nothing to stop it," Stump said. "In fact, they were egging it on."
Parents of day care students went to a meeting Monday and were informed about the alleged video. Stump said the parents voiced concern, but commended them for their composure.
"It's very disturbing to think anything like that could go on," Amy Bickerling, whose 4-year-old son is enrolled at the center, told Delaware Online. "I know these teachers. I go on all the field trips. I've never seen anything irregular."
Stump said a full investigation is under way. There is no evidence yet to suggest these fights occurred more than once, but authorities will be conducting interviews with some of the students, he said.
He called the suspects "cooperative" and said they posted $10,000 bond.
The three women were charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangering and conspiracy.