BOSTON (CBS) – A day care center in Chinatown is under investigation by two state agencies as the result of a WBZ-TV I-Team investigation.
Cell phone video taken by a woman in a car appears to show a day care provider shaking a toddler at a public park. The driver who took the video spoke to the I-Team through an interpreter.
“When she saw the lady shaking the kid, she asked herself why weren’t any of the other adults at the park doing anything. She was just worried for the kids.”
It happened at Eliot Norton Park in the South End. The woman who took the video said she started recording after she said she witnessed an earlier physical interaction between another day care staffer and a child.
“When she saw the boy with the red shirt, she saw it at least three times, that it was done to him three times, made to sit down forcefully. After that, that’s when she started recording. Not only did it happen again, but there were other kids involved.”
The I-Team asked Dr. Ellen Bratten, a child psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, to review the video of the incidents.
“It is not, in any way shape or form appropriate – absolutely not,” she told WBZ.
The children attend Little Panda Early Learning and Care Center on Tremont Street in Chinatown. Last spring, during an April inspection, the program was found to be deficient in the care of children, a deficiency the state called “minor.” A month later, the center came back into compliance.
“Even before I saw any physical action on the part of teachers or day car providers, I was appalled at how checked out they were, how disinterested they were in the kids,” Bratten said.
The I-Team showed the video to the parent of the toddler who was shaken. She said it was upsetting and that she planned to speak to the center about what she saw. The parent also said her child likes going to the center and she has never had any problems with the care.
The I-Team also showed the video to Cindy Liao, the owner of Little Panda Learning, who said in a statement, “We immediately contacted the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Children and Families and asked them to independently investigate, and per procedure, the teacher is on administrative leave while this occurs. We look forward to hearing back from the state agencies and will move forward appropriately based on their findings.”
Bratten said, “This is a very public place and I worry about what goes on in a situation where there aren’t people watching on the street, so I do think that this is the kind of thing that should be reported.
WBZ also reported the incidents to the state and DCF. Both say they are investigating. In the meantime, the day care center is open.