Five families are suing a North Texas daycare center amid allegations of multiple violations of state law, including a teacher who disciplined toddlers by beating them with a wooden spoon or a stick.
The lawsuit against the Willow Bend location of Children’s Learning Adventure Childcare Center alleges that the teacher threatened the group of 15 toddlers in her care, using fear and intimidation tactics when they misbehaved.
According to the legal filing, Tonya Rush, the teacher named in the suit, has no formal training for her job and also has no degree or certification in childcare.
The suit says:
Ms. Rush also admitted to having a history of bipolar depression with thoughts of hurting herself, often needing to reach out to religious advisors and help hotlines during her lunch break at Children’s Learning Adventure to calm herself down before being present again with children, and even beginning therapy as a result of feeling overwhelmed with her position at the daycare – clearly indicating that this was an unfit caregiver who was improperly and inadequately vetted and supervised by Children’s Learning Adventure during the time of her employment.
The lawsuit follows an investigation by the State of Texas, which substantiated multiple complaints from families about the daycare’s discipline tactics.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission Child-Care Licensing Division and the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services concluded that the school violated at least three laws in how staff disciplined children.
During questioning, Rush admitted to threatening the children and that she went to management several times seeking help, saying the children were hard to control. At one point, the suit states, Rush was the only caregiver responsible for a group of 15 three-year-old children. Even despite Rush’s pleas for more staff, the school left her as the only teacher and increased the number of children in her classroom.
“Children’s Learning Adventure Child Care Center acted in the interest of profits over the well-being of a classroom of toddlers,” says Russell Button, founder of The Button Law Firm and one of the daycare injury lawyers representing the five families in the case. “But more importantly, the daycare center did not take enough action in removing the caregiver, who was clearly unprepared and unfit for the job.”