Daycare Drama: When Does a Prank Become Felony Child Abuse?

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When does mischief go too far? Wearing a “Scream” mask (used in the 1996 movie “Scream”) to scare people may not hurt.

This is exactly what happened at Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center in Hamilton, Mississippi. Five nursery teachers wore masks as part of a “prank”. The supposed “prankster” ran after the children and screamed. Viral videos on social media show frightened children running away from adults.

Daycare owners promptly fired daycare workers for “practical jokes,” but their problems didn’t stop there. They are now facing serious child abuse charges. One of her employees has also been charged with failing to report abuse under Mississippi’s mandatory reporting law.

What is Serious Child Abuse?

child abuse Any physical or psychological harm to a child, such as danger, neglect, sexual abuse, or abandonment. Child abuse is a crime if it is intentional. For example, it is not intentional for a nursery teacher to accidentally hit a child. However, it is a deliberate act of a nursery teacher to push a child. It can then be argued that the pranks of wearing scary masks and screaming at and chasing children intentionally caused emotional harm to them.

And this is not a petty or “minor” crime.under Mississippi Child Abuse Actlegal consequences for felony child abuse convictions range from a minimum of two years’ imprisonment to life imprisonment, depending on the harm caused.

What are mandatory reporting laws?

in most states Reporting obligation law Impose obligations on people in certain sectors or professions of responsibility to report suspected child abuse. For example, health care professionals, teachers, social workers, and day care workers must comply with mandatory reporting laws. This means that if you see or suspect child abuse, you must report it to the authorities.

Also, some states require you to report suspected child abuse. Child Welfare Information Gateway Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Obligation GuideIf you need to report child abuse, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453).

Mississippi’s mandatory reporting law requires a day care worker or anyone who has reasonable grounds to believe that a child is being abused or neglected to report.

Can parents sue for pranks?

In this case, the state determines criminal liability for the day care worker. However, parents of frightened children intentional infliction of emotional distressIn general, allegations of willful infliction of emotional distress must meet the following elements:

  • extreme or insane behavior
  • deliberate or reckless act
  • cause severe emotional distress

The test for extreme or outrageous conduct is whether the conduct exceeds the bounds of decency. I mean, it’s not just offensive or offensive. For example, if a nursery teacher pulls a prank on a parent, it is more likely to be seen as a harmless prank. However, what is acceptable for adults may not be acceptable for children. Courts will take it into account like they do with other pranks that lead to serious injury, such as hitting and prank calls.

An intentional or reckless element is defined as the childcare worker intending to cause severe emotional distress, or at least knowing that frightening an infant could result in serious emotional distress. It means you could have known. Severe emotional distress means physical manifestations of distress, such as anxiety and inability to sleep.

Can a parent sue the daycare if they sign a waiver?

Typically, when you enroll your child in daycare, you sign a waiver that the daycare is not responsible for harm to your child. But it may not hold up in court. Parents cannot waive their child’s right to sue. And if they owe a duty of care and breach their duty and the day care caused injury and resulting harm, the day care could be held liable for negligence. Remember, does not only mean physical injury.

The daycare owner was reportedly unaware of the prank until the video was posted online. She fired the employee involved in the prank. The doctrine of “answer the boss”, Employers are responsible for the conduct of their employees as long as such conduct falls within the scope of their employment.

You don’t have to fix this yourself – get help from a lawyer

A meeting with an attorney can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights.visit us lawyer list To find a lawyer near you who can help.

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