Success! Daycare Workers Who Ran Preschool ‘Fight Club’ Charged With Child Endangerment

If you think all daycare centers are happy places filled with preschoolers engaged in creative play, you’ll be shocked to see what happened at an Adventure Learning Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in December 2016.

Because they “ran out of things to do,” two workers at this center organized a fight club. The women directed at least six youngsters — just three and four years old — to have fistfights, with the toddlers wearing a “Hulk Hands” padded glove and using it to hit each other on the head and body.

The fights lasted 35 minutes and were captured by a 10-year-old, who was watching through a window in the next room when he saw his little brother being beaten up and crying after three fights. The child was turning four that day.

Thankfully, the older child filmed the whole incident on his iPad and texted it to his mom, Nicole Merseal. She was understandably horrified and contacted the daycare director, demanding that she stop the fighting immediately.

Merseal describes the fight’s impact on her young son: “He doesn’t understand why his friends were fighting him – why he was beaten up by his best friends. And it was on his 4th birthday.”

The two daycare workers were immediately fired, and inspections by state regulators also increased after the center was reported to the child abuse hotline.

But St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office declined to prosecute, stating that charges would not be filed due to “insufficient evidence.” Officials added, “That does not diminish the incredibly poor judgment by these adults who had the responsibility to safely supervise these children.”

Merseal found this response completely unsatisfactory, and she filed a lawsuit requesting $25,000 in damages for negligence, recklessness and breach of contract.

Because justice had clearly not been served, the Care2 team started a petition demanding that St. Louis police investigate the incident and bring charges against the two daycare providers, Mickala Guliford and Tena N. Dailey.

The Care2 petition states:

The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. Unless of course, your Fight Club involves 4-year-olds. Then it’s called child abuse and you should absolutely talk about it – preferably with the authorities.

Success! 

Over 23,000 Care2 activists signed the petition — and on November 7, 2018, we learned that Guliford and Dailey had been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, which is a felony. 

Congratulations to Nicole Merseal, to all the Care2 members who signed this petition and to all the activists in the St. Louis community. The power of all these voices coming together made this victory possible.

Newsweek even credited this Care2 petition with being the reason that the investigation was reopened.

But we have to wonder what would’ve happened if Merseal had not had access to this recorded video footage.

If you’re a parent in need of a daycare facility and worried about how to safeguard your child’s wellbeing, you can find out how to examine a childcare center’s safety record by clicking here

Inspired by this Care2 success? Why not raise awareness about an issue that concerns you by creating your own Care2 petition? These guidelines will help you get started and soon the vibrant Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Caleb Woods/Unsplash

68 comments

Latoya Brookins

I do not know how you get to toddler fight club just because you are bored.

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lennon horton
lennon hortonyesterday

🖒

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Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins8 days ago

Oh my god. Forcing toddlers to beat each other in a fight club, I thought I heard it all.

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Sonia M

Good news!Thanks for sharing

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Virgene L
Virgene L8 days ago

Thankfully justice is served! Bless the brother who had the skills to film this. May the little ones forget (in time) that this ever happened. I'm surprised there weren't more signatures, but perhaps it wasn't available for any length of time.

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Sabrina Degasperi
Sabrina D9 days ago

Serves them right!

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Marge F
Marge F9 days ago

Excellent news! Thank you for sharing.

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Kerri D
Kerri D12 days ago

Thank goodness they were charged

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Chad Anderson
Chad A15 days ago

Thank you.

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Shirley Layfield
Shirley Layfield17 days ago

Excellent news, thanks for sharing!

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