By Alyssa Schnugg
A video released recently by an Oxford couple has brought a Water Valley daycare under fire for allegations of abuse by an employee who still works at the daycare.
Nicole Morris worked at Cotten Candy Kids Learning Center, owned and operated by Yalobusha General Hospital, for about a year. Her toddler, Hadley, attended the school with her each day.
Morris worked in the infant room. Hadley, 2 and a half years old, was in the toddler room nearby under the direction of another daycare employee.
On Dec. 11, another coworker walked into Morris’ room and told her Hadley was bleeding.
“They told me she was running and tripped and hurt her face,” Morris said.
She took Hadley to the emergency room where they learned Hadley’s nose was broken – the bridge of her nose was fractured. She had bruising to her face and a cut lip.
Knowing the daycare had a security camera, Morris watched the video that night with her husband.
“I expected to see my child running and tripping, but I didn’t,” she told Hottytoddy.com Tuesday evening.
The video shows several children sitting on chairs and Hadley sitting on the ground, pointing to something. The daycare worker, whose identity is being withheld pending a criminal investigation, seems annoyed and then grabs Hadley up by the wrists and takes her off camera for a short period. Hadley returns, crying with her nose visibly bleeding.
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As the daycare worker approaches the child with a tissue, Hadley puts up her hands, seemingly afraid of the employee.
Morris said she was then told her child was “throwing a fit” and was taken near the bathroom, for unknown reasons, which is off camera.
“Hadley said (the daycare employee) hit her with the door,” Morris said. “But she’s only two and just learning to talk.”
Morris said it looks like Hadley was looking for her in the video, knowing she was just a room away.
“And it took someone 30 minutes to tell me something had happened,” Morris said.
Morris said she went to the daycare the next day, pulled Hadley out and quit her job. She then went to the Water Valley Police Department to file a police report.
Morris said she has not been told why the daycare worker grabbed up her daughter in the first place or how her nose was broken.
“They’ve changed their stories 15 times,” Morris said.
So far, no arrests have been made and the daycare worker in the video is still working at the daycare center.
A woman answering the phone at Cotten Candy Tuesday referred all questions to Yalobusha General Hospital; however, calls and emails to Yalobusha General had not yet been returned as of Wednesday morning.
Morris said she decided to release the video on her Facebook page after consulting with her attorney.
“Nothing is being done and she still works there,” Morris said.
Morris said she recently heard that a second allegation of abuse has come out against the same daycare worker; however, that has not yet been confirmed.
“When I heard that another police report had been filed against her, I talked to my lawyer and decided to release the video,” Morris said.
As of Wednesday morning, the video has 216,300 views and has been shared 50 times.
Morris said she wants justice for Hadley, the truth of what happened and the employee removed from the daycare before another child is hurt.
“It gives daycare workers a bad name,” she said. “Most are good people who care for the children they watch but then something like this happens and it makes them all look bad.”