Video shows childcare workers taunting, harassing child with autism
Authorities issued arrest warrants for (L) 20-year-old Alexus Henderson and 26-year-old Kaderrica Smith. Both workers are accused of taunting, berating and throwing a backpack at an 8-year-old autistic boy. (Winter Haven Police Department)
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (CBS12) —
Authorities issued arrest warrants for two childcare workers accused of taunting, berating and throwing a backpack at an 8-year-old autistic boy.
According to Winter Haven police, the incident was captured in a three minute long Snapchat video on Sept. 1.
The video shows 26-year-old Kaderrica Smith and 20-year-old Alexus Henderson taunting, aggravating, yelling and even doing a leg sweep on the student at Our Children’s Academy, police said.
Authorities say the boy, whose identity is not being released, is diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, ODD and severe outbursts. The boy is seen on the video crying and hiding underneath a table while Henderson and Smith harass him.
One of the workers throws shoes at the child while he is under the table, police say.
Officers say the child came from under the table and ran around the room. That’s when officers said one of the workers grabbed his arms and did a leg sweep, causing the boy to fall on his back.
Authorities say the video shows the child reacting both verbally and physically.
Despite the abuse, police say the child did not require medical attention.
“These workers were supposed to be trained in how to handle children with behavioral issues,” said Chief Charlie Bird. “They are trained to deescalate situations, but that obviously did not happen.”
In an initial interview with the workers, both women told officers they felt they acted appropriately during the situation and didn’t do anything wrong.
School officials say Henderson and Smith were immediately fired, and DCF placed a hold on their certificates so they could not be re-employed by any business working with children during the investigation.
DCF also spoke with the child in a separate interview on Sept. 15. Officials determined that both Henderson and Smith committed criminal acts in dealing with the child.
Police tried several times to locate Henderson and Smith with no success, which resulted in the warrants being issued for their arrests.
Officers say Smith faces charges of battery and child neglect. Henderson faces charges of child neglect.
Police ask that anyone with information on the whereabouts of either Henderson or Smith to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.