Police in Lubbock, Texas, say an investigation is underway into a viral video of a day care worker repeatedly yanking a child’s hair as a fellow employee looks on, laughing.
According to local station KAMC News, a group of concerned parents gathered outside the My Little Playhouse Learning Center on 50th street Thursday afternoon in response to the disturbing incident. The video, posted to social media, shows an adult pulling a Black child by the hair as the little girl dozes in and out of sleep at the breakfast table.
“Stand up!” the unnamed worker demands, forcing the child upright.
“No ma’am. Eat your food,” she continues, this time yanking the girl by her ponytail.
Meanwhile, a fellow employee, who filmed the incident, is heard giggling and comments that one of the other children “is ugly too.”
Lubbock Police said they were alerted to the video on Thursday, and immediately went to the day care to investigate.
“The Lubbock Police Department was made aware of a video circulating Facebook involving a young child at a daycare in the 3600 block of 50th Street,” the department wrote in a statement. “Once the video was brought to LPD’s attention, officers responded to the business to investigate. Through the investigation, we were able to determine the incident did not occur today, but rather on a previous date. This case remains under investigation.”
Officials said they’re still working to determine when the incident actually occurred.
LaQuitta Wilson, the mother of the 3-year-old child in the video, told KAMC News she learned of the frightening incident the same time the public did.
“She was physically abused by an adult and someone that we paid to place for her safety,” Wilson told the station. “They had no apology. They had no reason. They did not call me. Like I said, everything hit the fan and it’s like they just had nothing to say.”
Video of the incident was first posted Thursday, but multiple parents, including Wilson, said it happened weeks ago. The outraged mother said the day care never contacted her.
The child’s family said she’s doing OK, but they’re less than satisfied with the way the day care handled the situation. Now they’re considering legal action.
“We want any legal action that can happen, any legal action that happened to her, like jail time,” said Martreal Walker, the child’s father.
My Little Playhouse addressed the incident in a statement on Friday, and confirmed the employees involved “were immediately fired” after day care owners were alerted to the video. A day care employee also confirmed to Atlanta Black Star that the two employees were terminated, but said one had been previously fired.
Although authorities haven’t identified the workers involved, a Facebook user by the name of Kae Kae Rangel appears be one of the fired employees and alleged the other worker was terminated as the result of a separate incident involving another child.
“The daycare did NOT post it, MacKenzie did and was fired,” Rangel wrote of her former colleague on Facebook. “Now [she] wanna post it. She got fired for kicking a kid in the face, which is the owner’s grandson. She is big mad.”
Rangel added: “The lil girl was falling asleep, putting her whole face in her food. I washed her face, took her chair and she continued, so I was clearly holding her chongo (Spanish word for bun/hairstyle). That bitch (Mackenzie) just wants attention.”
Rangel also posted the video on her Facebook and Instagram page. It appears all previous posts from both accounts have been deleted.
As of Friday, My Little Playhouse was still open for business. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website shows that the day care center has had 19 violations since 2016, ranging from bookkeeping errors and deficiencies in areas free from hazards.
Watch more in the video below.