Four Mississippi day care workers have been fired following viral videos showing one worker scaring children in a Halloween mask.
Viral videos on Facebook depict a day care worker at Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center wearing a “Scream” mask and shouting “clean up” while chasing one child around a classroom, the Monroe Journal reported.
Another video shows children crying at a table as a masked worker lurks around them and gets close to a toddler’s face.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Mississippi State Department of Health are investigating the incident, according to the newspaper.
Brenda Honeycutt, who was dropping off her granddaughter at the day care on Thursday, told WTVA-TV that she would have fired the workers “on the spot” once she learned about the scares.
“That would be my reaction to it, if my employees did something like that,” said Honeycutt, who believed the day care owner didn’t have “anything to do” with the videos.
“I know [the owner] enough to know that she wouldn’t allow that to go on and know about it,” she said.
Keegan Hays, whose daughter is in one of the videos, told the news station that it would take security cameras and more leadership as well as management skills to build back trust in the day care.
Sheila Sanders, the day care’s owner for the past 20 years, told the Monroe Journal that she became aware of the videos on Wednesday and the former workers’ behavior “isn’t tolerated.”
“I wasn’t here at the time and wasn’t aware they were doing that,” said Sanders, who has worked at the day care since 1987. “I don’t condone that and never have. I just want to say it’s been taken care of.”
Sanders said one of the videos was filmed on Tuesday and another video was filmed last month.
Kimberly Smith, whose child is in one of the videos, told the newspaper that she knows Sanders wasn’t aware of the situation.
“The witch hunt that has been going on for her and the other ones still here, it really needs to stop,” Smith said.
“Was the situation that did happen horrible? Absolutely. But should this day care be shut down and others be villainized that are still here, absolutely not.”