Police: Childcare workers taunted, berated boy with autism as he cried under table
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Police in Florida are looking for two childcare workers accused of “berating, taunting and throwing a backpack” at an 8-year-old child with autism.
A Snapchat video captured 26-year-old Kaderrica Smith and 19-year-old Alexus Henderson terrorizing a boy at Our Children’s Academy in Winter Haven, according to police.
Smith is being charged with battery and child abuse and Henderson with child neglect.
The three-minute video shows the boy underneath a table crying as Henderson and Smith tease and yell at him, police say. At one point, one of the workers throws shoes and a backpack at the boy, according to police.
The video shows the child crawl out from under the table and start running around the room. When he runs at one of the workers, the woman allegedly grabs his arm and does a “leg sweep,” causing the boy to fall flat on his back.
Police say the video shows the boy reacting in “both a verbal and physical manner” as he is harassed.
According to an internal review, both Henderson and Smith said they felt they had acted appropriately and did nothing wrong.
Our Children’s Academy fired both workers, whose certifications are now on hold during the investigation, preventing them from getting another job working with children.
Police put out a warrant for their arrest after interviewing the boy last Friday, and are asking the public for help finding them.
Anyone with information is asked to call the anonymous tip line Crime Stoppers at (800) 226-TIPS (8477). Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.