State report: Olathe daycare worker slammed child’s head into chair, dragged another by hair

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 4:23 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 11:58 AM CDT
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OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - An investigation into an Olathe daycare reveals some alarming actions by a teacher who was supposed to care for children.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) surveyed Children’s Lighthouse in March, following a complaint by a parent.

The report is public information — it’s posted on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website.

The KDHE website shows four surveys after complaints in the last year. But it’s the latest that was the most disturbing.

The report calls punishment used by a staff member “humiliating, frightening or physically harmful.” Investigators watched video from inside the daycare and single out the behavior of a lead teacher in Room 5.

The lead teacher picks up a crying child, then holds the child away from her body and squeezes his torso. The child starts to scream and continues to cry.

The lead staff member is observed slamming a child who is screaming and crying into a chair at the table and the child’s body bounces from impact.

The lead teacher forcefully holds a used bloody paper towel in a child’s face as the child continues to cry after falling to the floor. The lead teacher walks up to a child who is crying, yells in his face, and walks away.

The lead teacher was observed grabbing a child by the hair and dragging him to the table.

The report goes on to say:

Two staff members in Room 5 are not qualified by temperament, emotional maturity, sound judgment and an understanding of children.

The report describes teachers blaming toddlers for sneaking out of the room when there’s a lack of supervision. It also states suspicions of a teacher being under the influence of marijuana. It also documents the case of a child being seen by a physician for bruising obtained while the child was at the facility. The report notes no Critical Incident Report was sent to KDHE as required by state law.

We reached out to Olathe Police, they confirm an investigation and told us the file has been turned over to the Johnson County Prosecutor for review. We checked with that office, and are still waiting for a response.

We also went to Children’s Lighthouse in Olathe and asked to speak with the person in charge about the allegations, but we were told the owner and/or director were unavailable.

The daycare released a statement that read in part: “As soon as we were aware of the incident that took place, we began our own internal investigation and partnered very closely with state licensing. Following this, again to ensure the safety of all children, we terminated the teacher.”

For the entire statement, read below.

For more KCTV5 Investigates stories, click here.