Titusville day care owner accused of hitting boy with spatula won't face charges

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — A woman said she was shocked to learn that a day care owner accused of hitting her 4-year-old son with a spatula will not face charges.

Brittany Henderson said she called police after her son had a bruise on his lip.

He told her he was hit in the face after getting into a fight with another boy at Titusville's J&A Joyful Hearts Academy.


"It was gut-wrenching. I mean, it was just. I was appalled," Henderson said. "That was supposed to be someone that was caring for him, and (the day care was) supposed to be his safe haven."

The Florida Department of Children and Families said it has conducted three inspections at the facility since December, the most recent of which was completed Friday.

Inspection records said that the agency learned of allegations that the owner "hit the children with a spatula, flip flop and a belt."

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The owner told Channel 9 on Tuesday that she never used physical force on the children.

The state attorney's office said it did not have enough evidence to file criminal charges.

"It is not a crime for a parent (or someone acting as the child care provider) to impose reasonable physical discipline, even though physical injury resulted from the punishment," the office said.

Henderson described the decision as sickening.

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"He was hurt -- not just physically, but emotionally," she said. "This is just something that's probably going to stick with him for the rest of his life."

Inspection records said the day care also allowed a 12-year-old to watch an infant, and the owner hired a convicted felon.

A DCF worker found that a "teacher left the children in the facility unsupervised."

The report also said an "unscreened individual was left alone with children."

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The person was on "supervised probation" following an arrest and gave the DCF worker the wrong name and date of birth to lie about her identity, the report said. It's unclear what crime she was accused of committing.

The inspection also found that the "protective surface under the monkey bars wasn't maintained."

Henderson said she hopes the state takes permanent action against the day care.