Four months after two teachers got into a physical fight in front of a group of young children at Waypoint ParkRidge Kids, a report from the Iowa Department of Human Services reveals details into an altercation that led to the termination of two employees and the center receiving a provisional license.
The complaint report released by DHS Thursday afternoon said their investigation found the center had violated four rules in the course they took after the incident occurred.
Through a series of face-to-face interviews with staff during an unannounced visit to the center on Sept. 13 and Oct. 7., staff said two staff members didn’t get along and had personality conflicts. According to the report, interactions between the two women included picking on each other non-stop, badmouthing one another, saying things about each other under their breath while the other was present, using inappropriate language and gossiping about each other at the center. Management told DHS they were aware of the conflicts and had addressed the use of inappropriate language and gossiping at the staff meetings.
The complaint stems from an incident in which the two women used inappropriate language and called each other names. During the fight, the complaint said one of the women pushed 40 books sitting on a half-wall partition at the other woman, prompting her to grab her by her hair, lifting her off the ground. One woman was also punched during the fight. The incident happened in front of nearly 11 0 to 24-month old children.
Though the complaint said one staff member yelled “stop” several times and yelled for help during the fight, the two women eventually let go of each other.
After the fight, the complaint said the women went to the director’s office and said the children in the classroom were crying during and after the fight, but that none of them had been injured. This prompted an internal investigation by Waypoint management, but parents were not notified of the fight until almost two months after the incident when the complaint was filed.
DHS determined the center violated rules by not immediately reporting the incident to parents, not reporting suspected child abuse, and not providing careful supervision of children during the fight. DHS also learned some staff leave the classroom while children are present, throwing off the required ratio of staff to children; the center was cited for that as well.