MIAMI, FL—November 8, 2011 – A South Florida day care worker accused of child abuse and neglect in a pending civil lawsuit confessed to those allegations during a recent disposition, according to information provided by NBC Miami. A female J. Ruiz Learning Center employee, whom is being referred to as “Miss Emma” in the pending lawsuit, was questioned as to whether or not she had ever struck a child on the job and ultimately answered, “yes.”
Surveillance footage also showed the Miami-Dade day care employee standing by as a fight between several children ultimately ended with a 5-year-old girl having one of her braids yanked violently from her head. Upon being asked about her apparent failure to intervene, the accused day care employee contended, “They were just playing. They were just playing.”
Trina Jackson, the 5-year-old girl’s mother, filed a civil lawsuit against the Hialeah day care center, claiming both child neglect and abuse on the part of “Miss Emma.” J. Ruiz Learning Center is situated at 4111 Northwest 22nd Avenue.
Also deposed in the child abuse case was Jose Ruiz, who strongly insisted that no children have ever been subjected to abuse at the children’s learning center. When the plaintiff’s attorney asked Ruiz whether the day care worker’s actions would result in the termination of her employment, he apparently responded, “She was under a lot of pressure. She was questioned for hours. I didn’t see enough of the clip. I have to see more before I make a determination.”
Although no criminal charges have been filed against “Miss Emma,” reports indicated the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) fined the Hialeah day care upon completing a probe into the said child abuse allegations.
Denise Hodge, whose three children used to be enrolled at the day care center, also filed a lawsuit related to the case. Hodge reportedly got a job at J. Ruiz Learning Center, as to better understand the complaints her children were making about “Miss Emma.” Hodge contended, “She [“Miss Emma”] would let little kids fight each other… She’d even hit the little kids if they didn’t listen to her.”
When Hodge went on to report what she’d witnessed to Jose Ruiz, she faced backlash for doing so. Hodge claims she was fired for unjustified reasons the following day. Her lawsuit not only seeks $15,000 in damages, but also aims to have officials close down the facility for good and prohibit “Miss Emma” from attaining employment within the child care industry in the future. Hodge also seeks the introduction of legislation that would require all day care centers make an ongoing stream live surveillance footage available to parents who want to check up on their kids.