Allegations that thirty-year-old Karina Bonner improperly disciplined children at Coliseum Child’s Play Incorporated this summer sparked both criminal and state regulatory investigations and three total lawsuits. In August of 2016, Bonner was arrested and charged with eight counts of cruelty to children, stemming from alleged incidents at the center.
After imposing a nearly five hundred dollar fine on the center, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning found evidence substantiating complaints that Bonner improperly treated children in her care.
Before working at the east Macon day care center, Bonner had never taken any child care training courses. Rather, her employment records claimed she’d worked as a customer service cashier at Eckerd Drugs, Kohl’s, and Subway. When asked about her experience with groups of children, Bonner wrote that she’d cared for her own son, worked as a volunteer at another daycare center, and had been a babysitter.
Bonner had been working at Coliseum Child’s Play for three years at the time of her arrest. According to Reg Griffin, a department spokesman, the daycare center had an opportunity to appeal the fine, but did not. The daycare declined to comment on the ongoing investigation and lawsuits. Though Bonner claims she was simply separating two children from fighting, video evidence shows that a boy was jumping up and down before she grabbed him by the arm, pulled him, and jerked him.
In addition, video evidence also showed Bonner handling six four-year-olds “roughly” that day, grabbing them by the arms, faces, and ears – as well as slapping a child’s face, squeezing a child’s shoulder, shoving a child into a chair, and pushing a chair forcefully into a table as a child was seated. Bonner denied all allegations of abuse. “I would never hurt my children,” Bonner wrote in a statement. “All my parents love me and the way I work with their kids.”
The Dangers of Daycare Abuse
Parents should always be on the lookout for signs of daycare abuse in their children. Learning more about the warning signs of abuse, and how to choose a responsible provider for children, will help prevent future incidents of daycare abuse.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, parents should be on the lookout for:
- Acting out inappropriate sexual activity
- Changes in behavior or extreme mood swings
- Changes in bed-wetting, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances
- Acting out of feelings, aggressions, or rebellious behavior
- Regression to clinging or other infantile behavior
- Changes in toilet-training habits
- Fear of certain people, activities, or places
- Excessive fear of going to daycare
Unfortunately, daycare abuse occurs in many states and has shown up in dozens of lawsuits. By paying close attention to the actions and behaviors of their children, parents can help catch daycare abuse in action and bring perpetrators to justice.
How We Can Help
The goal is to hold daycare providers responsible when inappropriate or dangerous situations take place. After all, these facilities are expected to find qualified, dedicated care providers for children.