On Thursday, cell phone footage from inside the Monroe County daycare quickly went viral after many concerned parents saw the disturbing sight of employees sneaking up on unsuspecting children and chasing after them while wearing the GhostFace mask from the horror movie Scream.
WTVA 9 reported that the viral videos are from two separate incidents, one in September and one more recently from 4 October.
In the video, adult caretakers are seen wearing the frightening mask as they taunt and tease a group of toddlers. In one clip, an employee pursues a screaming child while the wails and shrieks of other off-camera children echo throughout the small room.
Another clip appears to show one of the unmasked employees asking a roomful of children if they need to be punished for misbehaving, before she points out a child who has been “bad”. Next, a masked employee can be seen jumping into that child’s face and asking if they “need to take you outside?”
The owner of the daycare centre, who spoke with WTVA 9 on condition of anonymity as they are seeking their own legal counsel, confirmed that they were not present at the time of the incidents and have since fired four employees who were involved in the appalling matter.
“The people that did those acts are no longer with me,” the owner of Lil’ Blessings Daycare and Learning Center in Hamilton told the local news outlet, adding that they have since been fired and she wasn’t aware they were partaking in that behaviour.
“I do not condone that,” she said. “I just wanted to say that it is being taken care of.”
What is WRONG with people? I will never understand sick adults who get off on terrorizing children. It’s not funny or cute. It’s hateful and perverse and they should never be allowed to work with kids again pic.twitter.com/krBXkIjUNd
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) October 6, 2022
Shortly after the video footage began making its rounds online, parents of children enrolled at the small community daycare began pulling their kids home.
“We thought we knew these people, we’re from here. I cannot communicate the words how I feel. I’m devastated for my baby,” said Alissa Hays, whose daughter can be seen being terrorised by one of the employees in the video, in an interview with WCBI.
After she and her husband, Keegan, were sent a link of the video from a friend who had seen it first, they immediately went to pick their daughter up.
Despite the owner of the Monroe County daycare taking immediate action in firing the involved employees, parents in the community remain sceptical about using the local facility in the future.
“It would definitely take security cameras, it would definitely take more leadership,” said Mr Hays in an interview with WTVA 9, adding that it would also mean “not leaving immature employees responsible of these little kids and their lives.”
No charges have been filed yet, but Monroe County Sheriff told WTVA 9 that their office is looking into the incident.
“I understand people want retaliation or retribution or whatever they want, justice is really what they want,” Sheriff Crook told WCBI, before cautioning that people in the small community should not try to take justice into their own hands or “go after some of these young people”.
“That’s gonna get them in trouble.”