Mom says son slapped at Raleigh daycare, has warning for other parents

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County mother said her 3-year-old son was repeatedly slapped by a daycare teacher and the preschool refused to report it to state regulators.

Ashley Walker said she was first told by her son that the teacher would only allow him to have water at snack time if he wet the bed at nap time.

She said she reported that to the school and although administrators called it a misunderstanding, she felt they addressed her concerns.

Then, a few weeks later, she said her son told her about a physical assault.

"I was putting him to bed one night and he said that his teacher had been smacking his face," Walker said. "And I said, 'What do you mean?' because it seemed absurd to me. Who would do that? So I asked him what he means. I said, 'Show me.' And he smacked my face. He showed me. It was clear. And he kept saying it."

She said she took the boy to meet with an administrator at Durant Road Preschool.

"He was very detailed in his story. He explained that if he had an accident while sleeping his teacher would wake him up, roll him over on the cot and smack his face. And then take the cot out to clean it off."

She said the administrator was very responsive and confronted the teacher.

"They explained that they had asked her if she hit my child and that she said 'no' and they let her go," Walker said.

Despite her denial?

Walker responded, "Yes because they said that they believed that it happened, that they trusted my son."

She then asked the school to report the teacher's actions to state regulators at the state Division of Child Development and Early Education.

"They refused to make the report, so I did and I was very upfront with them the whole time," she said.

An email to ABC11 signed only "Durant Road Preschool" reads in part, "This is an unsubstantiated incident investigated by The NC DHHS: Division of Child Development and Early Education. Please check with the Division for this documentation."

During a visit to the daycare, an NC DHHS employee said discusses two allegations with the staff: the children were not attended to in a nurturing and caring manner and that discipline was being handled inappropriately.

The report details how the worker spoke with the head staff about the allegation against them.

After speaking with employees herself, the state worker said the claims could not be "substantiated" because there was not enough information to prove that the incident occurred.

Walker said state regulators told her there wasn't much that could be done since the teacher was already fired.

And that worries the mother who said, "She is a licensed teacher and I'm afraid she is going to go to the next daycare down the road and get a job. She's bubbly. She's fun, got a great personality. They'll hire her. So she right now could be working at another daycare center in this area and doing this to kids who are not as verbal."

She said she started getting the cold shoulder at the preschool and her son started acting out, so she has moved him to another daycare.

She said this one has surveillance cameras so it's not up to children to report allegations of abuse.

Walker said she simply wants to warn and inform other parents.

But the last line of the email from Durant Road Preschool seemed to sound a warning to Walker for speaking out.

"Our attorney is in the process of sending a Cease and Desist Letter to this individual."
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