OVERLAND, MO (KPLR)-- A family is frustrated over lack of criminal charges against a daycare worker fired for reportedly hitting a child. This involves a daycare we`ve exposed in the past. Investigator Chris Hayes reveals the potential dangers to kids connected to this franchise.
Bright Start Academy in Overland looks like a happy place with busy kids. Heather Johnson said her three-year-old`s spirits dropped dramatically one day.
She said her son "normally he runs up to me and he`s very excited that I`m there. He was distraught, he wasn`t excited like he normally was. You could tell something was wrong with him and come to find out, my son told me that the director of the daycare hurt his side and his head."
Police investigated, but prosecutors declined the case, partly because surveillance does not show the incident. You can see a worker carry Johnson`s son back into the director`s office and you can see the director follow. But the abuse reportedly happened in that office, one of the few places cameras don't show.
The director at the time, was Carol Hatch, the same person we confronted in a Fox Files investigation May of 2012. It`s a report Johnson wishes she`d seen. Johnson said, "I think that every parent first off, needs to do a lot of research on the daycare they send their children too and definitely be prepared because anything can happen."
2011 inspection reports noted a teacher `hitting` and `shaking` incident so frightening another caregiver described a child `screaming for her life.`
State records show this latest allegation led to `Bright Start` terminating Carol Hatch this time. The incident happened last august, but the Johnson`s just found out this year there would not be criminal prosecution. they hired Attorney Steve Bardol to keep the pressure on Bright Start. Bardol said, "It was a traumatic experience for him and his family and he`s still receiving treatment and I think the entire family is still trying to cope with the incident."
It`s the same Bright Start franchise we reported on in December, when daycare workers left a two-year-old alone in the cold, behind an O'Fallon, MO center. The toddler waited nearly 5 hours on Christmas Eve, before her father found her buried in mulch. The State shut down that location.
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