A Mississippi law enforcement agency recently announced it was investigating a video that surfaced of a daycare worker scaring children to the point of tears by wearing a scary Halloween mask and screaming in their faces.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said it was aware of the incident that took place at Lil’ Blessings Childcare in Hamilton and was “working with the county prosecutor to see if there are any possible criminal charges that can be filed.”
Law enforcement was initially alerted by a video uploaded to Facebook by a co-worker who was trying to obtain proof of the daycare worker’s actions to show parents.
The video, shot by daycare worker Jennifer Kayla Newman, shows a worker in a mask terrorizing the “bad” children by screaming in their faces while ignoring the “good” ones.
Another co-worker looking on told the mask-wearer which children were “being bad.”
The worker went from classroom to classroom, scaring children and evoking sobs and fearful reactions from the toddlers. In one instance, she screamed directly into a girl’s face while she was eating lunch, causing her to scream out in fear and cry.
Another moment showed three children hiding behind a cabinet while the masked woman pounded on the door with her fist.
The children can be heard sobbing in the videos, and one even cried out for his “mama” during the terrifying scene. Another attempted to run away from the worker, causing her to chase after him and grab him.
The children’s parents who were interviewed after the video surfaced said they had never seen their children that scared and that they still were “not the same.”
“A couple of weeks ago some girls at the daycare bought Halloween masks to scare the kids, they did it and I never got it on video,” Newman said.
“I did not video this for sh**s and giggles. It was not funny to me. I did not get amusement out of this. The one screaming in the kids faces is NOT me. The one standing next to the girl screaming is NOT me. That laughing in the video is NOT me,” Newman clarified on Facebook.
After being criticized for not intervening or calling the cops, Newman responded by saying she first wanted to obtain proof of the incident, adding that the cameras at the center did not work.
The four workers involved, including Newman, were later fired by the daycare.
The ex-worker who was wearing the mask apologized, saying her plan to get the kids to clean up and listen went too far.
“People make mistakes and they learn from them. If I could take it back, I would. I hope and pray that some of you can find it in your heart to forgive me,” she said in a Facebook video.
Despite the center taking quick action to fire the employees involved, outraged parents pulled their children out of the daycare and remained unwilling to use its services in the future.
With emotions in the community running high, Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook urged people to have patience as his office investigated the incident. “I understand people want retaliation or retribution or whatever they want. Justice is really what they want,” he told WCBI, cautioning listeners “not to do anything irrational and to take matters into their hands and go after some of these young people or whatever who they know is involved or the owner of the business, that’s gonna get them in trouble.”