A pair of New Jersey day care workers who have been accused with running a so-called “toddler fight club” have pleaded not guilty to child abuse charges last Friday. Erica Kenny and Chanese White, both of Roselle, N.J., have accused of egging on the children, who range between the ages of 4 and 6, to fight at their former place of employment.
White, 28, and Kenny, 22, worked at the Lightbridge Academy in the town of Cranford. In August, the workers allegedly encouraged fights on the center’s playground with Kenny recording the video to share on the SnapChat social media app. On one such clip, Kenny can be heard calling the fights between the children as a “fight club” while they scuffed.
CBS New York has more:
“Essentially the day care workers are encouraging it and videotaping it,” Union County Prosecutor Grace Park said.
The videos show about a dozen boys and girls shoving each other to the ground and trying to hit each other, according to prosecutors. The charges stem from Aug. 13, but investigators are looking into whether the fights were ongoing.
The SnapChat videos only last 10 seconds and then disappear, but investigators were able to find the video after someone recorded it.
The two women have been fired.
“As parents and caregivers, we are shocked and saddened by this isolated incident and we have assisted the prosecutor’s office from the start of its investigation into this matter,” Lightbridge Academy said in a statement. “While no children were physically harmed during this incident, we have a zero tolerance policy for anyone who acts in conflict with the core value of Lightbridge Academy – the safety and well-being of children.”
While both women face charges of child abuse, Kenny has the added charge of endangering the welfare of a child. If sentenced, Kenny could see five years behind bars while White could serve 18 months.
The women are due in New Jersey court on October 15. The maximum sentence they could face, according to CBS, is three to five years in prison.
Photo: CBS New York