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Day care tells parents child fell, video shows teacher throwing her across room

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Pine Lawn — Video taken inside a day care center in north St. Louis County shows a worker tossing a girl across the room and another injured child with some kind of “nail punctures on the skin,” a police sergeant said Wednesday.

The North County Police Cooperative began its investigation of Brighter Day Care and Preschool after a 3-year-old girl was taken by ambulance Feb. 1 to a hospital with a deep gash on her head. She required seven stitches and later was hospitalized for three days after it became infected, her family’s attorney says.

Video shows a worker grabbing the girl by the arm and tossing her across a room, said Sgt. Kevin Smith with the North County Police Cooperative. As police officers were reviewing the video of that assault, they came across a second victim, Smith said.

The second child had puncture wounds to the skin.

The child is “doing pretty well now,” Smith said. Smith had no additional details on the child or that injury. Smith said detectives would be seeking warrants soon.

Smith said the workers involved in the two incidents were no longer working with the day care center. “We can assure you the children are no longer in danger,” he said.

The director of the day care center declined to speak to a reporter Wednesday, referring all questions to her attorney. He released a statement saying that “providing a quality education in a safe environment is of the utmost importance to our teachers and staff.” The statement said the day care was cooperating with authorities.

The video of the worker tossing the 3-year-old girl was released to the Post-Dispatch by the family’s attorney, Jennifer Hansen. KTVI first reported the story Tuesday night.

Hansen said the worker who grabbed the child filled out an “Unintentional Injury Form” and described the injury this way: “bump her head, when she fall out on carpet.”

Days after the injury, the girl’s family pressed for more information from the day care center’s director to explain how falling on the carpet could produce such a serious injury, Hansen said. The director told the girl’s family that she had video of the room where the injury happened, but that she hadn’t viewed it yet, Hansen said.

So the director watched it, with the family, five days after the injury. The worker was fired after the director saw the video, Hansen said. The fact that five days passed — with the worker still employed — is one of the factors that upsets Hansen, she said.

The injured girl and her brother no longer attend the day care center, Hansen said.

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