Lawsuit alleges California daycare teachers used push pins to discipline students

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. -- Parents at an Agoura Hills daycare center have filed a lawsuit claiming two teachers disciplined their children by pressing push pins into their legs.

"What happened at this Tutor Time in Agoura Hills is just shocking," says their lawyer Robert Clayton. "They would call it 'pica pica.' They would say, 'You are going to get pica, pica,' and they would poke them in the legs with pushpins."

"Pica, pica" is Spanish for "prick, prick."

"The push pin was pressed through the clothes into the skin," Clayton said.

The California Department of Social Services conducted an unannounced visit last May and found evidence that violations had occurred. Three staff members were terminated, including one who knew about the abuse, but failed to report it.

At least two other parents said Tuesday they were removing their children from Tutor Time. They say the school failed to disclose the incidents to them.

"I am definitely pulling him out," said Matthew Joynes, father of a 4-year-old son. "They should have told us that this was going on. So that is a huge breach of trust."

Tutor Time is a nationwide chain. The corporation has taken over the facility from a franchisee who was operating the branch at the time of the incidents.

"We train our employees regularly and emphasize the use of our positive guidance policy for behavior management," the company released in a statement.

A former worker who did not want to be identified said the classroom for 2-year-old students was overcrowded. By her count, 24 students were under the care of two workers.

In addition to the child abuse allegations, parents suing the daycare say classrooms are equipped with cameras to ensure constant monitoring. They believe that though the cameras were working, no video was recorded until after the incidents.

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