by: Tom Regan Updated:
RIVERDALE, Ga. - The co-owner of a Riverdale day care is accused of attacking an employee.
He has been charged with a misdemeanor count of simple battery following an argument with a teacher.
Robert Phelps told Channel 2 Actions News the contact with his employee was incidental and that the teacher attacked him first while he was in the process of firing her.
Two employees who witnessed part of the incident last Friday said the director/co-owner became angry about employees remaining in the cafeteria too long, and that the situation escalated with one teacher in the hallway.
"He pushed her, and then he shoved her in the face, like a mush slap, and then he was tussling with her in the hallway," said cafeteria cook Talishelia Taylor.
Another employee said Phelps also grabbed the employee around her neck and that she had to separate them.
"I broke them apart," said teacher Claressa Pitts.
The employees said they were upset that some children were exposed to the incident.
"Some of the kids saw the fight, because some of the parents were asking them what went on," said Taylor.
The day care owner said he has hired an attorney and the facts that support his account of the incident will come out. The Duluth-based corporate office of Kids R Kids said that the safety of children and staff are its first priority and that an investigation is underway.