The state of Mississippi has charged four former Lil’ Blessings Daycare employees with felony child abuse in connection to viral videos in which staffers wore Halloween masks to scare young children.
A separate daycare worker, Traci Hutson, was arrested on two misdemeanor charges for failure to report abuse and simple assault against a minor.
Last month, an employee at the daycare center recorded two videos of her co-workers donning serial-killer masks to frighten the children and leaked them to the press.
Halloween came early in Hamilton, Mississippi:
What is WRONG with people? I will never understand sick adults who get off on terrorizing children. It’s not funny or cute. It’s hateful and perverse and they should never be allowed to work with kids again pic.twitter.com/krBXkIjUNd— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) October 6, 2022
“Are you being bad? Do I need to take you outside,” the one staffer said, threatening the crying kid. “Y’all better be ready.”
The staffer said they leaked the video because they didn’t believe reporting the incident to the daycare owner would suffice.
Sheila Sanders, who owns Lil’ Blessings Daycare, says she was unaware of the videos until they emerged on social media on Oct. 5. Sanders confirmed to The Monroe Journal that she fired each employee involved immediately after viewing the clip.
On Friday, the New York Times reported further details regarding the chargers:
Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman and Misty Shyenne Mills were each charged with three counts of felony child abuse on Wednesday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Traci Hutson was charged with failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter and simple assault, which are misdemeanors.
On Thursday, the four employees facing felony charges appeared in court, Sheriff Crook said. Bonds were set at $20,000 for Ms. McCandless and Ms. Kilburn and at $15,000 for Ms. Newman and Ms. Mills.
The adults dressed up like characters from the horror film “Scream” and tormented the children when it was clear they were in distress. That’s both cruel and moronic. Forcing the kids to continuously scream in fear warrants punishments both criminally and in the workplace.