ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (KLFY) – The parents of a one-year-old who was allegedly hit by a teacher are speaking out, issuing a warning to other parents with nonverbal children in the care of others.
When school started last week, the parents of 19-month-old Gunner Prejean were under the impression they were leaving their son in caring hands, it now appears those same hands sent him in the E.R.
“He would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. I said from the screaming, he’s probably having dreams about what happened”.
Tabitha Prejean says her 1-year-old son, Gunner, is slowly getting back to his regular self after she was told a teacher hit him last week for apparently crying too much.
“Daycare workers shouldn’t be putting their hands on kids at all, for any reason, especially not crying because hitting a child for crying want to stop them from crying, it will make them cry more,” Mrs. Prejean said.
Gunner’s dad, Gage, filed a police report when he learned of the incident from other staff members.
The teacher in question, 32-year-old Kristina Francois, was charged with simple battery.
“I just want to be the parents most of all to please be vigilant of your children. Check them head to toe just left the school board when they would see a bruise,” Mr. Prejean said.
According to medical records, Gunner was diagnosed with a contusion to the lower back; the result of a blunt injury to tissues and muscle fibers under the skin.
After learning of the alleged child abuse, administrators immediately placed Francois on administrative leave.
But even with the Francois out of the picture, Mrs. Prejean says her son will not be returning to the school; she plans on keeping him at home for the next three years until he’s ready for preschool.
A representative with community development Institute Headstart which operates the school says, the federal regulations that govern Headstart state that staff must not use corporal punishment or physical abuse methods of discipline.