STARKE, Fla. — A preschool in Starke has been issued an emergency suspension after an investigation uncovered abuse of children by center staff.
The Bradford Preschool has been under investigation since August 2021.
The Starke Police Department issued the emergency suspension order that prohibits the daycare from serving children, after finding multiple violations of Department of Children and Families guidelines in a video recorded in August 2021.
Taylor Williams says it was her 4-year-old son that can be heard in the video telling the employee to stop pulling him.
“I actually did have to get him into behavior therapy just due to some of the behavior issues he’s had since then, he’s come along a lot, but we’re still just working through it," Taylor Williams, said.
Williams is one of at least four claims of abuse against the center, according to police, these claims are not sexual in nature go back to 2015.
Records also show that in 2016, the center’s owner was charged with assault against a minor, but those charges were later dropped.
Another parent, Branda Perez, claims daycare staff neglected her son and shared with First Coast News photos that showed bruises on the toddler’s face that she claims he got while at the center.
“My son had told me that he told the teachers, but they didn’t do anything, they didn’t care," Branda Perez, a mother of four, said.
Perez believes the bruises are from other children, but says staff did not notify her or take steps to solve the problem. She says filed a police report in November 2021.
"With any incident with my kids it was always oh the camera weren't working or I looked him over and didn't see anything," Perez said. “I’m hoping that DCF and the sheriff and everybody sort of opens their eyes and sees this," Perez said.
Both Perez and Williams point to what they call a pattern of neglect from staff and says the center needs to be shut down for good.
"I wish it would have happened sooner before another child got hurt but I'm relieved that they finally did take action," Williams said. "I would like for everything to be brought to light and to find out why did it take this long, why was something not done sooner."
Detectives say they are still looking through numerous videos, and criminal charges may be forthcoming.
In the meantime, parents have been provided alternate daycare sources.
First Coast News did reach out to the daycare owner, and have not heard back.
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