Two now-former day care workers are facing charges that include assault and child endangerment after video footage showed a 4-year-old child being shoved to the ground and left to cry.
The incident took place on June 21 at Wilde Kingdom Early Learning Center in Fairfield, Ohio, where day care worker James Ciolino is depicted harming the unidentified girl in the video apparently obtained only recently by Local 12 News.
Ciolino had been watching ten children when the little girl, who is Black, walked off with another class. Reportedly when former day care worker Stephanie Miller yelled at Ciolino to come retrieve the child, he shut his classroom door, an action the classroom video shows.
Miller then opened the door and shoved the girl into the classroom. That’s when a seated Ciolino, who is reportedly 6 feet tall and roughly 315 pounds, placed both of his hands on her chest and pushed the girl to the ground. She let out a cry almost instantly. Miller stood by and did nothing, then closed the door and left.
According to the video, Ciolino didn’t immediately tend to the girl and allowed her to cry for about a minute before picking her up by the waist and carrying her to the front office. A third teacher who came into the room after the shoving stayed in the class.
Both employees — who had only been working there only a month — were terminated upon review of the video, which the school’s director, Lisa McMillion, told reporters happened the day of the incident. “The video itself has all the truth it needs in it. As soon as you watch that or as soon as you see that, you know immediately what has to be done,” she explained.
“You just know something is not right with that cry,” McMillion said, “As a mom, you know when something is not right. As a director, I know all of those children, and I know how they cry.”
The little girl’s mother, Ernestine Pumah, expressed outrage though she said her daughter is doing better. “I cried. I couldn’t hold it. I was so heartbroken,” she said.
“The guy just pushed her away like an animal. A little baby who knows nothing, who all she knows is life is just to play, eat and sleep, you push her down on her chest, and she’s lying down crying, and you are still doing what you were doing. What a heartless man,” she added. McMillion filed charges against both individuals. They were later taken into custody.
Ciolino has been charged with assault and child endangerment, while Miller is facing child endangerment charges. Both pleaded not guilty and are set to go to trial in December.