CLEVELAND- An exclusive FOX 8 report sparked outrage online and in the greater Cleveland community.
The story centered on the beating of two children inside the Cedar Early Learning Center on Cedar Road in Cleveland.
Two-year-old Amari Lamb could be seen on surveillance video toddling toward a day care worker who’d called him over. Then the 49-year-old woman grabbed the little boy and began whipping him with a plastic back scratcher.
She tightened her hold as the child struggled to escape the pain of 22 lashes across his leg. The video shows the woman push the boy to the floor and hit him again.
Ten minutes later, the same employee was seen beating the 2-year-old again as she dragged him across the room and threw him onto a changing table.
“I could not believe. Just looking at that, that this place even had the audacity to do that to my baby for no reason, he didn’t deserve it at all,” wept the child’s mother, Ryane Lamb.
Lamb was outraged and shaken by what her toddler endured at the hands of a woman who’d been entrusted with his care. She said she confronted a second daycare worker who was seen on video sitting nearby, watching Amari being whipped.
That second worker was later seen in the same video hitting an 18-month-old girl with a plastic bat.
A detective from Cleveland’s Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit left the day care Friday afternoon with a bat similar to the one used to hit the little girl. He also had the center’s computer hard drive in his hands, which contained additional security footage from inside the building.
Denise Clark, who said her twin 2-year-old boys used to attend Cedar Early Learning Center, was deeply troubled by what she saw on the video.
“Angry, sick to my stomach, give me the chills,” she said.
Myrna Clark, a former day care teacher, said child care workers had no business treating children that way.
“You’re not supposed to hit these kids, number one,” Clark said. “And a 2-year-old? What could a 2-year-old possibly be doing?”
Octavia Manuel, the learning center’s administrator and licensed school counselor, told FOX 8 she fired the two employees immediately.
“I’m glad I have recorders to catch things like this because you just never know,” said Manuel, who spent the day cooperating with a police investigation.
Manuel said the 49-year-old woman seen on video beating Amari was tearful and remorseful during her termination. She expressed a desire to speak with the child’s mother and explain herself. She was not given that opportunity.
The second woman left without offering an explanation.
Attempts by FOX 8 to reach the former employees were unsuccessful.