There’s not a lot to say about this one. I usually don’t write about incidents that are obviously unethical to this extreme, but when something broadens my understanding of the full range of human depravity, and makes my head explode, like this story, attention must be paid.
I missed the first coverage of this atrocity, which sounds like a bad joke, two years ago. Last week, Virginia jury found day-care provider Kierra Spriggs, 26, guilty of four counts of felony child cruelty and two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery after a two-week jury trial in Prince William County. She was a “teacher” at the idyllically named Minnieland Academy at the Glen until fellow teachers blew the whistle on her in 2014.
Testimony during the trial indicated that Spriggs habitually and sadistically mistreated the toddlers, including encouraging twin sisters to fight each other. Prosecutors characterized her crowded classroom containing nearly 20 toddlers from 18 to 27 months as “baby fight club.” She also..
…fed a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto to a toddler, leaving the girl gasping for air.
…stepped on kids’ toes and laughed.
…put rubber bands on the toddlers’ hands and snapped them.
…intentionally tripped a running child.
…dumped water on a little girl’s head.
…taught the children to abuse each other.
Good. But questions remain in whatever segment of my brain that isn’t on my ceiling, walls, and laptop. Like..
How could TWO women think two-year-olds was a good idea? I wouldn’t think you could find two such women in a whole state, and this day care facility managed to hire two of them? This isn’t just an ethics alarms malfunction, it’s ethics alarms that had to be re-programmed to act like Hal the Killer Computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” “Why don’t you have the little girls fight, Kierra?”
I have always believed parents take an irresponsible risk entrusting their pre-school children with caretakers whom they don’t know, are often inadequately trained, and have not received a level of vetting commensurate with their duties. This story has done nothing to assuage those doubts. Parents said that now they understood why their two-year olds screamed and cried “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” when it came time to take them to daycare.
You know, call me hyper-critical if you like, but when your child hates day care that much, it is time to do some investigation.