Video of Daycare Worker Seemingly Dragging, Spanking Child Prompts Suit From Texas Parents

A lawsuit has been filed against a daycare in Crockett, Texas for repeated neglect and abuse, ABC13 reported.

A video was released of a daycare worker at Treehouse Academy "flipping the toddler over as he cried" and then jerk[ing] him across the floor."

The child's mother, Paula Vargas Mendez, worked at Treehouse Academy as well, so she thought her child was safe, ABC13 said. However, she could tell something was wrong, especially when he thought he was in trouble.

"He would start crying," Vargas Mendez said. "He would start shaking and he would start hiding."

Then she discovered the video.

"That's a two-year-old. That's an innocent kid," Vargas Mendez said. "I feel like I failed my kid in every way possible. I feel like I could have done something sooner."

Three female employees at Treehouse Academy, Shaquill Johnson, Seklethia Jackson, and Sabrina Griffin, turned themselves into authorities in 2020. They were charged with state-jail felony abandoning or endangering a child, according to KTRE. The Crockett Police Department Facebook page announced in May 2020 that they launched an investigation into the abuse.

"The initial investigation began with abuse allegations in the 2-3-year-old classroom, but we have since expanded the investigation to include all age groups and classrooms," the Facebook post said. "The safety and well-being of the children involved in this case, as well as other children exposed to this behavior, is our utmost concern."

However, the employees that were charged were no-billed—when a grand jury in Texas finds there is insufficient evidence to prosecute someone—leading the parents of seven children, including Vargas Mendez, to take matters into their own hands and sue the daycare.

"It was like it's sending out the wrong message. It's telling daycare workers that 'Hey, you can do this much and you can get away with it,'" said Vargas Mendez about the case collapsing. "It's not OK, and I don't want that to happen to anybody else's kid."

ABC13 said that the daycare's compliance history report revealed 12 deficiencies over the last five years, six of which were considered high.

A little girl hiding her face
The mothers of several children have sued Treehouse Academy in Texas for repeated neglect and abuse. The parents sued the childcare center after a grand jury no-billed the alleged abusers. Getty Images

The trial is scheduled for April 2022.

"These parents trusted this child care center to provide quality care for their children in a safe environment. The Treehouse Academy violated this trust by failing to protect these children," Bradley Leger, the families' attorney, told ABC13.

"It was upsetting, and [the lawsuit is] what we wanted. We want some type of justice," Vargas Mendez said.