Daycare worker charged with battery of child

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 7:15 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A Kanawha County daycare worker has been charged with battery after deputies said she grabbed a 2-year-old child by the face and pushed him to the ground.

Jacklyn Williams, 20, appeared in court for the first time Wednesday and was released on a $500 bond. Williams and her attorney declined an interview request after the hearing.

“She can put her hands on my child, but they won’t put her hands in handcuffs,” said Sierra Brothers, the victim’s mother. “That’s pretty disturbing to me.”

Brothers said Williams’ actions were completely unnecessary because her child simply did not follow directions on the playground. She said the boy is still impacted by this event, and she is pushing for changes to the system to ensure this doesn’t happen to another family.

“It’s not something that we are willing to just sweep under the rug,” Brothers said. “It is something that needs to be brought to light. It needs to be discussed. It needs to have attention on it.”

Daycare teacher facing battery charges

The incident happened at the Cross Lanes Child Care and Learning Center, where court documents said Williams was the 2-year-old’s teacher. The facility said in a statement that this reported abuse is misleading and did not happen, despite a criminal complaint saying the incident was recorded on a cell phone by another employee.

The statement said any allegations of abuse would have ben immediately reported to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), and there have been no findings of abuse or neglect at the facility. A DHHR spokesperson was unable to confirm this claim.

The daycare declined to do an interview with WSAZ and did not answer when asked if Williams was still employed by the company.

“Cross Lanes has cooperated with law enforcement and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in an effort to bring the truth to light and to ensure that all of the children in our care are in the safest environment possible,” the statement said. “Cross Lanes will work tirelessly to fight these false and misleading allegations so that it can get back to focusing on providing the quality childcare services that local families have entrusted us for years.”

DHHR said it is not able to comment on any investigations into Cross Lanes Child Care and Learning Center. A spokesperson said the department is looking into if Williams’ license will be suspended or if she will face any additional sanctions for these battery charges.

Multiple families and employees have spoken to the victim’s family about their concerns about abuse at the daycare, Brothers said. She is now working with the family’s attorney, Michael Cary, to push for change and possible legislation that could better protect children in these facilities. Brothers said she would like to see better surveillance systems and random outside reviews of facilities.

“I think doing nothing says a lot,” Brothers said about the facility’s actions so far. “I think it is probably a lot of guilt involved and it is probably a lot better to not say anything because they know they are at fault for this, and they know that what they are doing isn’t right.”

Brothers is also planning a protest to be held outside of the facility in the coming weeks to bring together people impacted by this type of battery and abuse. She said they are trying to be a voice for people who have not previously been able to come forward and talk about these issues.

If convicted, Williams could face up to 12 months in jail and a $500 fine.

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