Articles Posted in Crimes Against Children

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Public-School-Negligence-300x262In Oklahoma and other states, parents rely on schools and day care centers to be places of learning and safe havens. Unfortunately, far too many teachers, day care centers, administrators, and principals misuse their positions of responsibility and end up harming children under their care. At times, the harm results from a moment of agitation and irritation on behalf of the child care provider / teacher. At other times, the abuse, neglect, and / or corporal punishment results from a more systematic and calculated form of retribution or corporal punishment. Some school districts still allow for corporal punishments, while others strictly outlaw this outdated from of child discipline. If a child has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or corporal punishment, there may be a case or cause of action to pursue on behalf of the injured child.

A recent incident out of Indianola, Oklahoma exemplifies a scenario where a principal disciplined students using corporal methods in a school district that still permits punishments of this nature. News outlets reported that the principal of a public school instituted corporal punishment to  two children, ages ten and eleven, in the form of a paddle as punishment for arguing. The policy of the school district allows the school to “swat,” also known as spank, students as long as the school has permission from the parents to do so. In this situation, the parents felt the school went too far with the discipline because the children had bruises, lacerations, and welts as well as trouble sitting and standing after the discipline occurred.

While incidents of this nature may seem rare, the National Education Association indicates that nineteen states still permit corporal punishment, usually through paddling. According to statistics from the 2011-2012 school year, the National Education Association also asserts that approximately 163,000 students face corporal punishments annually. Alarmingly, statistics also reveal a racial disparity in the students subjected to corporal discipline in schools as well as a bias towards corporally disciplining students with disabilities. In some districts, students of minority races are 500% more likely to be struck than white students, even though these school districts tend to have more white students than minority students. Furthermore, students with disabilities are up to 67% more likely to face corporal punishment than other students in their school districts. Thus, corporal punishment occurs with some frequency in schools across the country and sometimes exhibits bias against protected classes of students.  See National Education Association – Corporal Punishment in Schools.

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In Michigan and other states, parents rely on day care center to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment during the workday. Whether a child attends an in-home day care center or a commercial day care center, it is important that the child is supervised by a caring and patient adult. Unfortunately, far too many day care workers are not well suited by education, temperament, or maturity to watch young children. It is a well-known fact that infants will cry and toddlers will misbehave. If children were perfect angels who never cried and never misbehaved, there would almost be no need for a day care center. For most children, a day care center is a haven of safety in an otherwise busy world. For others, unfortunately, and in far too many cases, tragically, a day care center is the site of a serious personal injury in the form of head injury, brain damage, skull fracture, shaken baby syndrome, and related injuries.

A recent case of alleged child abuse at a home day care center in northern Michigan demonstrates the reality of these types of tragedies. It was reported that the owner of a home day care shook a seven-month-old baby in her care to the point that the baby stopped breathing. When a child is shaken, the brain can be damaged.  This mechanical / medical condition is simply referred to as shaken baby syndrome.  However simple the name, the brain damage resulting from shaken baby syndrome can have permanent affects on a child and the family caring for that child. Permanent brain damage can result after mere seconds of violent shaking by an adult or older child because of the sensitivity of infants’ softer skulls and developing brains. In the case out of Michigan, reports indicate the shaking of the baby ultimately fractured the infant’s skull, which t did not result in loss of life for the infant, but did result in long-term health consequences.

According to the New York Department of Health, one to three thousand children suffer from shaken baby syndrome each year. A quarter of those children die, and approximately eighty percent of the surviving children suffer from permanent brain damage or other lasting health complications. Injuries of this nature remain completely preventable. The New York Department of Health suggests that when caring for a child that will not stop crying, caregivers lay the child down in safe place, such as a crib or play pen, and take a break, so that they do not burn out and harm the child. See Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome. 

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Toy-Blocks-E-A-300x226In Nevada and other states, a child enrolled in a day care center should be provided with a supportive educational environment free from abuse, neglect, and corporal punishment. Unfortunately, far too many children are harmed by the very caregivers supposed trained and skilled to provide proper supervision for children at the day care center.  It should also be noted that many such instances go unreported, unnoticed, and essentially ignored unless somebody speaks out on behalf of the child.  Often, it is the parent that steps up to advocate for his or her child.
It was recently reported in Nevada that a day care center worker threw a child to the floor.   The child reported the incident to her mother who then demanded to see the video surveillance for the facility.  The video surveillance from the K.I.D.S. Academy located in Henderson, Nevada shows the child care provider first picking up the child by the arms.  The day care center worker then returns just seconds later and throws the girl more forcefully and the child’s face hits the floor.  Incidents like these can and often do lead to serious head injuries.   Without the push from the parent and the availability of the video surveillance, these incidents tragically get “swept under the rug” without any civil, administrative, or criminal action.   Once the video surveillance was viewed by the facility and the parent, the matter was reported to the Henderson Police Department which, in turn, arrested the day care worker for criminal charges of child abuse. You can read more about this story at Video Surveillance Leads to Arrest of Day Care Center Worker in Henderson Nevada. 
Similar to the majority of other states, corporal punishment and physical abuse are prohibited in licensed Nevada day care centers. Pursuant to Nevada Administrative Code – NAC 432A.400 Discipline – a licensed day care center has a duty to enhance a child’s behavior through positive guidance and redirection.  A day care center worker shall not under any circumstances inflict physical punishment in any manner on the child or verbal abuse or threaten the child.
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By David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer
Crib-and-Nap-Time-Day-Care-Center-276x300Parents rely on day care centers to provide a safe educational environment for their children. Tragically, children suffer serious personal injuries and even fatal injuries at the very place where the children are supposed to be protected – the day care center.  At times, other children in the day care center are violent and unstable.  It is important that day care centers closely monitor all children in the day care center. If a child is exhibiting strange, dangerous, or disturbing behavior, it should be addressed right away.  For the protection and safety of the children enrolled in the day care center, a child, with dangerous tendencies or propensities, can and should be removed from the day care center.  The local licensing agency can also step in if there is a problem with the parents of the “problem child”.  It is vital that the day care center act in a timely manner to prevent injuries at all times possible.  Unfortunately, many day care centers ignore the problem or gloss over the problem rather than take action to protect the children in the day care center.
In Michigan, it was reported that a 14 month old toddler died a day care center by an 8 year old girl with a history of odd behavior.  The toddler (Korey Brown) was crying in his crib.  Then, the 8 year old took him out of the crib, bit him in the face, and kicked the toddler.  The 8 year old girl had a number of issues.  It is suspected by the family of Korey Brown that the day care center knew or should have known about the odd behavior and should have taken action to protect Korey Brown.   At the time of the attack, there were no adults present in the room.  As such, it appears that the 8 year old was left unsupervised in a room with younger children in the room including Korey Brown. You can read more about this story at Girl Kills Toddler at Michigan Day Care Center
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By David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer

Duct-Tape-300x202In day care centers in Missouri and across the nation, children are unfortunately subjected to various forms of corporal punishment in day care centers.  Most states have a prohibition according to the day care center government regulations against corporal punishment.  Despite these regulations, some day care center workers, for some reason or no reason at all, subject a child to corporal punishment.

In St. Louis, Missouri, there was a lawsuit filed against the Zion Lutheran Church, its daycare, and its employees, for the alleged abuse of a four-year-old girl. It was reported that the teacher at the daycare wrapped the child’s legs in duct tape after saying “I have some shiny red duct tape with your name on it.” The child admitted to running around when she was supposed to be napping, which is said to be the reason the teacher put duct tape on her legs in the first place. After the tape was put on, another member of the staff told her the tape would be removed when she behaved, which shows it was intended as a means of punishment. When the parents addressed the situation to staff, the situation was laughed over, and comments were made about how hyper their daughter can be.  It was reported that the daycare teacher has been said to have used duct tape as a means of controlling a child with two much energy. As a result, this family’s lawsuit alleges false imprisonment and assault, among other things, and is seeking over $25,000 in damages.  It should be noted that many courts have jurisdictional amounts or thresholds. In other words, an action can be pursued in a particular court if the amount in controversy if over a certain amount of money.  As such, in many cases, it is difficult to determine from the pleadings alone the amount that is ultimately being sought by the plaintiff / family of the injured child.

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By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer

Toy Blocks E & AIn Minnesota and other States, working parents rely on day care centers so that the parents can provide for their children.  While parents, given a choice, would have one parent at home or a family member at home to raise the child during the tender years, the economic realities of life make it necessary to put a child in a day care program.  Some day care programs are excellent while others are operated by ill equipped and trained people who open a day care center for the sole purpose of making a living.  The substandard day care centers often fail to get licenses, fail to train their staff, and fail to look after the best interest of the child.  In addition to training of staff and maintaining a safe environment, there is something else that is needed in every day care center in the form of “patience”.  It is well known that children, especially infants, will cry and fuss.  Because of this, it does take a certain temperament, personality, and, yes, patience to properly care for a child in a day care center.

A bizarre set of facts took place recently in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It was reported that a day care center provider got fed up with her job and placed a child in a noose to hang the child. The day care provider then took off in a vehicle in a hurry and then got into an automobile accident that was reportedly her fault.  You can read more about these incidents at Day Care Center Faces Criminal Charges in Minneapolis Minnesota Following Hanging of Baby.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Day Care Video Surveillance.001When a child is injured at a day care center, it can at times be a mystery as to how and why the child was injured.  This is especially true when a day care center work lies or hides acts of abuse, neglect, and corporal punishment.  Video surveillance, at times, captures the very acts of abuse or neglect inflicted by the very same day care center providers who have the legal duty to protect, support, education, and care for the child.  Most states prohibit any kind of corporal punishment and criminalize the acts.  As such, if a day care center work strikes a child, criminal charges can be brought against the day care center work; however, it should be noted that the criminal prosecution of a day care center worker caught on video hitting a child is not automatic.
Each incident or case is evaluated by the local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office to determine if a crime was committed and if enough evidence can be presented to successfully prosecute the day care center worker.  If bad acts are caught on video, many people may assume that the day care center work is going to jail or prison; however, no assumptions or presumptions should be made on any particular case as to criminal prosecution.  Furthermore, it should be noted that the pursuit of a civil case is also something that needs further review by the parents and a Child Injury Lawyer as to the elements of the case and the practicality of pursuing the case.  The elements of a civil case or claim for day care center negligence, harm, assault, or corporal punishment are as follows:
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By David A. Wolf, Attorney
Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Kids Wooden Blocks Falling As Symbol For Education And Learning
In Oklahoma and other states, hard working parents rely on day care centers for the proper supervision and education of their children.   With both single parents and dual income parents, day care centers have become a necessity in order for parents to support their children.  Most day care centers do a fine job in caring for children in a loving and nurturing way; however, there are far too many child care providers out there who lack the maturity, patience, responsibility, and common sense to serve as a proper day care provider.  While it should be well known out there that shaking a baby, infant, or toddler can cause serious permanent injuries, there continues to be incidents reported that children have been injured by forceful shaking, corporal punishment, and / or the hitting of a child.  This, in turn, caused serious head and brain injuries to child who was supposed to be cared for rather than harmed in the day care center setting and environment.
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By David A. Wolf
Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Justice Red White and BlueWorking parents do their best to support the family.  In doing so, working families need the services of day care centers.  Most day care centers are well run by caring individuals.  However, there are many day care incidents and wrongful death incidents out there that do and should cause concern for all working parents which children enrolled in a day care center.  When a child dies, there are in many instances more questions than answers and sensible explanations for the death of the child.  It should be made clear that an infant and toddler at a day care center need supervision at all times including sleep and nap time.  When a child mysteriously dies at a day care center, there is typically an investigation by local law enforcement and the social service agency that licenses day care centers.  An autopsy should be performed to help determine the cause and preventability of the death of the child.
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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

ChildAbuse-IconDavidBusy working parents rely upon day care centers, child care centers, and summer camps to provide a safe learning environment for children. On most days for most children, there is excellent education, supervision, and care.  Unfortunately, for far too many children, a day care center, child care center, or summer camp is the site of a abuse, neglect, and molestation of a child.  It is tragic when a child is subject to abuse or neglect in the very environment where the child should be protected.  When a child is abused or neglected in a day care center, the parent of the child can pursue a civil case or claim against the day care center, the day care center worker, and others who may be liable or at-fault for the injuries caused to the child.  It should be noted that a civil case is quite different than a criminal case or an administrative case against the day care center work and owner.  A civil case can be brought assuming that a parent can establish the following four elements against the Defendant as follows: