ROSWELL, Ga. — A metro Atlanta day care that was ordered to shut down after two teachers were arrested and charged with child cruelty will be allowed to stay open after an appeal.
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Channel 2 Action News was the first to report that the state had moved to revoke Parker-Chase preschool in Roswell. The day care was allowed to continued to operate until an appeal, but worked out a settlement before the hearing.
Last year, teachers Zeina Alostwani and Soriana Briceno were arrest after a series of surveillance videos appeared to show them kneeling on a child’s back, stepping on a child’s fingers and poking a child in the forehead. After the teachers were arrested on child cruelty charges, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) opened a larger investigation.
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According to state records, investigators reviewed video from the previous eight days and found two dozen more incidents involving the same teachers in that class.
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“During review of video footage, there were multiple occurrences when staff members were observed pulling, pushing, shoving, and hitting children in care,” investigators said.
Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach learned this week that state has reached a settlement with the day care. They will be allowed to stay open if they agree to pay a $10,000 fine, agree to more staff training and site visits from DECAL over the next year.
Gehlbach talked to the parents of one of the victims, who said they are still confused and wondering why the state and police didn’t work together and why one of the investigations is still open.
Jack and Alexa Houck’s 3-year-old daughter was one of the children in the initial surveillance video. The Houcks now hope other parents can find out if their children were also victims.
“It’s very disturbing that we still don’t know eight months later,” Alexa Houck said. “And management knew about this a long time ago. These children were terrorized, mentally, physically. Daily.”
DECAL’s investigation found the school should have known about potential abuse. In a written statement from another teacher who previously worked with both suspects for six months said she reported the women several times to the administration after she saw inappropriate handling and disciplining of the children.
She said in the letter that nothing was ever done about it.
After finding what they called “grossly negligent” operations and moving to revoke their license and close the facility, last week the state issued the settlement agreement.
Roswell police said their initial investigation has been turned over to the district attorney, but the detective on the case is still reviewing all the footage.
Gehlbach reached out to the company that runs the day care. They issued a statement, saying:
“We are pleased that we were able to reach a resolution with our Georgia licensing agency which allows us to continue operating without any restrictions on our license. The safety and well-being of the children in our care remains our highest priority, and we look forward to continuing to serve our families and students.”
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