A Lexington daycare center is being monitored by the state after a complaint investigation found that two male employees made children line up and get hit on the legs or hand with a ruler in order to get some yogurt.
One of the two male employees involved in the incident at New Creation Child Care was cited by police for second-degree assault for the “game,” which he reportedly called “smack for a snack,” according to a state inspection report.
The employees who were involved in the Aug. 4 incident were not named in the report.
The children who were involved were school-age.
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A 10-year-old girl told investigators: “The teacher said if you want a yogurt, you have to stand up to get hit on the hand or the leg. Everyone lined up to get a hit. Some kids were crying about it.”
Investigators who visited the home of the girl and a 7-year-old boy five days after the incident said that the two children “still had discoloration and bruising on their legs as a result of being struck by an object,” according to the inspection report.
While being questioned by a police detective, one of the men “confirmed he hit the children with a ruler and implied that it was just a game. The Detective asked him how many kids were hit and he replied, ‘Definitely twenty plus kids. But, not everybody got hit,’” according to the report.
One of the male staff members was said to have hit the children only on their hands, the other only on the legs.
The Office of Inspector General in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health And Family Services conducted the investigation of New Creation along with a detective from the police department’s Crimes Against Children unit and a representative of the state Department for Community Based Services. They inspected the facility Aug. 9.
During the investigation, New Creation was placed under intermediate sanctions that called for increased monitoring, said Beth Fisher, spokeswoman for the cabinet.
“The Division of Regulated Child Care in OIG is currently monitoring the facility to assure compliance with the intermediate sanctions agreement,” she said in an email.
A message left with employees of the Industry Road daycare center Thursday night was not immediately returned.
The state inspector wrote that the daycare director was informed of the “smack for a snack” incident on Aug. 4, but the man who had hit the children on their legs was still working with the school-age children during the inspection.
“I didn’t even want a snack, but he hit me anyway,” a 9-year-old told the investigators.
A 7-year-old boy said, “One day we got smacked with a hard stick for a snack. Sometimes it was on the leg and sometimes it was on the hand. Everyone that wanted a snack got hit; it hurt.”
Also during the Aug. 9 visit, during which the facility was caring for 83 children, the state inspector reported finding one woman looking after 27 school-age children, 12 more than permitted under state staff-to-child ratios.
In addition, the inspector found a shattered storefront glass window. Staff members said that one child knocked another child into the window, breaking it, on the same day as the “smack for a snack” incident.
A state inspection in May found the facility to be in compliance with state requirements, but there were problems in some previous visits, according to online documents.
In January, an inspector found several problems, including children between ages 1 and 2 watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” and 3-year-olds watching “Shrek.”
“The staff person kept telling the children numerous times to ‘sit down, get back in you chair, stop that.’ The surveyor noted that most of the children were not watching the movie,” the inspector wrote of the 3-year-olds.
In April 2014, an inspector reported seeing children riding in the daycare’s van standing up without seat belts on after being picked up from Mary Todd Elementary.
Members of the public can search for child care centers and check inspection reports through the Kentucky Integrated Child Care System.