Authorities suspended a day care center's license and operations, pending a hearing, after three employees allegedly encouraged two 3-year-olds to fight each other.
Police say the alleged incident took place in March at Hands of Our Future day care in Dover, Del. and surfaced this weekend when it was shown to a police officer, The News Journal reports.
In the video, a child is heard crying and yelling, "he's pinching me," to which a day care worker responds, "no pinching, only punching," CBS Philly reports.
"Clearly one of the children is crying and does not want to continue on and he is being pushed back into the fray by one of the adults," Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump told the station.
The suspected employees, 19-year-old Tiana Harris, 21-year-old Estefania Myers and 47-year-old Lisa Parker have been arrested and charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangering and conspiracy. While the students weren't seriously injured from the fight, it's clear that they were hurting each other, Stump told Newsworks.
"It's shocking, disturbing and infuriating to watch this video that shows the two children wailing on each other," Stump told The News Journal. "These are our most precious cargo and to have adults responsible for caring for their wellbeing to have them behave as such is sickening."
A meeting was held Monday evening for affected Hands of Our Future parents regarding the incident. Police say the video has not been shown or released to the public for evidential purposes, according to WBOC. The three suspected women have posted bail.
A similar incident occurred at Salinas Elementary School in Texas in the spring when a teacher ordered more than 20 kindergartners to line up and hit a classmate accused of being a bully.
The teacher was accused of orchestrating the slugfest after a fellow educator asked her for advice on how to discipline the 6-year-old. She allegedly sought to show the student "why bullying is bad" by telling his peers to "Hit him!" and "Hit him harder!"
The teacher has since been removed.