Footage shows apparent toddler ‘fight club’ at US childcare centre
A childcare centre in the United States is under fire after a video surfaced showing preschoolers punching each other in what appeared to be a “fight club” organised by teachers.
- 10-year-old St Louis kindergartener captured footage.
- US Circuit Attorney declined to prosecute, citing insufficient evidence.
- Mother claims her child continues to suffer “injuries and mental anguish”
St Louis television station KTVI-TV obtained video taken at Adventure Learning Centre in December 2016, which shows small boys wearing oversized green Incredible Hulk fists punching each other, including in the head.
At one point a teacher jumps up and down in apparent excitement.
The only person seen trying to break up the fight is another toddler, who is ignored.
Local police and Missouri state inspectors investigated at the time, but no charges were filed.
Both teachers were fired and the centre was allowed to remain open.
ABC America reported that one of the teachers told investigators the fight was to help kids with “stress release”.
The video shows one toddler who attempted to break up the punching match. (Supplied: ABC America )
Toddler continues to suffer ‘mental anguish’
The video was captured by the 10-year-old brother of one of the participants, who was in an adjoining room.
He sent the video to his mother, who called the centre’s director.
The director stopped the fighting and both teachers were fired.
The daycare centre’s cameras captured over 30 minutes of fighting, KTVI reported.
St Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office declined to prosecute.
A statement on Wednesday cited poor judgment by the adult supervisors but “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any laws were violated”.
Spokeswoman Susan Ryan said there was no evidence that any of the children were injured.
But in the lawsuit filed in January, one of the mothers said her son “continues to suffer injuries to his body, as well as mental anguish”.
Missouri state regulators increased inspections after the incident and follow-up visits found other violations, but nothing that merited closing the centre, KTVI reported.
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services did not respond to phone and email messages, while a representative at Adventure Learning Centre declined to comment.
The mothers of two of the children are suing.
The case goes to trial in December.