WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) – The photos are both shocking and sad. They’re enough to take your breath away and ignite the mama bear in you. The pictures show the bruised, battered face of a 5-year-old little boy named Aidan Stallone who was attending KinderCare in Wesley Chapel.
Aidan’s cheek is swollen, red and puffy. His mother Chelsea Stallone was horrified by what happened.
“I was upset. I was extremely upset,” she told News Channel 8. “I couldn’t believe it happened.”
The mom wanted answers from KinderCare. “They completely sugar coated it. They belittled the incident. You saw the picture. That’s not a scratch on his face, that’s half his face,” Chelsea Stallone added.
Aidan’s parents told News Channel 8 their preschooler was forced by kids in fifth grade to play something called the tripping game. According to the parents, KinderCare staff told them he fell.
Steve Stallone, Aidan’s father, told us, “That’s what makes us really angry about this. And when my wife went in there to talk about this, the teacher was basically trying to say they’re short-staffed, like, ‘What do you want me to do about it?'”
That was two weeks ago. On Monday it happened again, according to Aidan’s mom and dad. So, they filed a report with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Children and Families.
Both agencies tell News Channel 8 they are investigating the case.
We also reached out to KinderCare. A spokesperson told us, “I can assure you that any time any child is injured at our center, our teachers treat the injury and fill out an incident report form that they share with the child’s parents. The same was done for this child.”
But, that’s not good enough for Aidan’s parents. “I want parents to be aware of what goes on. Ask your children what happens at school. That’s the most important thing,” Chelsea Stallone said.
Aidan’s mother and father are also upset because he was mixed in an after school group with those older kids. “That shouldn’t happen,” Chelsea said. “I’m in childcare, and we would never do that where I work.”
KinderCare claims it “mixes age groups” and that it happens on occasion during drop-off and pick-up times when there aren’t as many kids in the center.
Here is the full statement provided by KinderCare:
“We are committed to creating a safe, nurturing program for all children. We know some scrapes and scratches are a natural part of childhood. Of course, we understand that any injury to their child can be upsetting for a parent.
I can assure you that any time any child is injured at our center, our teachers treat the injury and fill out an incident report form that they share with the child’s parents. The same was done for this child.
Although minor injuries, like scrapes, that require no medical attention are reported only to the child’s parents, we did call licensing this morning to inform them about the situation. They, along with CPS and the sheriff, are looking into the issue, and we will support these agencies in any way we can.
During the drop-off and pick-up times – when there aren’t many children in the center – we mix several age groups to ensure that we have appropriate supervision of all the children where one classroom might otherwise only have one student in the center, for instance. This practice is in accordance with Licensing guidelines.
While we don’t believe bullying is an issue at this center, KinderCare’s Inclusion Services team is working with staff to determine if there’s any additional support or training they can provide our teachers. The Inclusion Services team helps teachers determine the best way to support children’s specific needs, whether that’s through our curriculum or by offering support or training to teachers.”
Find this KinderCare facility’s Florida Department of Children and Families inspection reports here
Find information about Florida’s licensing of child care facilities and child-to-staff ratios here.
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