DECATUR, Ga. - The state is investigating abuse at the East Lake Early learning academy in Decatur. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning says an employee physically abused the same toddler multiple times.
Several parents swung by the academy Friday to pick up their kids. Those who chose to speak off-camera to FOX 5 News say they’re aware investigators found several instances of abuse at that location. They say they’re grateful the academy took action quickly.
The incidents at the ELELA — which is part of the YMCA and feeds into neighboring Drew Charter school — dating back to January 14. They all involve the same 2-year-old and staff member ultimately blew the whistle.
On Jan. 16, that toddler was strapped into a wooden chair while crying. That same day, an employee placed the child in a dark bathroom and locked the door. The child remained there for 25 minutes.
Once let out, staffers kept the child strapped to the chair.
On Feb. 17, surveillance video, that has not been released, shows a staffer taking another child’s hand to hit the 2-year-old in the face and on the back.
These are just a few of the reported incidents. The entire abuse allegation is currently under review. Those involved with the abuse, including the center director, a teacher and a teacher’s aide, have been fired.
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services is reviewing the case. The state will determine whether criminal charges are necessary.