Two former employees at a New Jersey day care are accused of encouraging children in their care to fight on camera, then sharing the videos on Snapchat while referencing “Fight Club.”
Erica Kenny, 22, and Chanese White, 28, were both issued summonses for fourth-degree child abuse, while Kenny was also charged with child endangerment.
Both were ticketed after authorities learned they may have instigated fights between children at the Lightbridge Academy in Cranford on at least one occasion in August.
U.S. & World
Kenny also allegedly recorded the scuffles between the 4- to 6-year-old children with her cellphone, then shared the footage with friends on Snapchat.
Kenny and White have been fired, the day care said Tuesday. Jaclyn Falzarano, the vice president of operations at Lightbridge Academy, told NBC 4 New York: "We are completely appalled. As a mom, I know those feelings."
She said the day care is retraining its employees and is working with the state and other authorities to reexamine its screening process.
Prosecutors say that video from Kenny’s phone shows at least a dozen kids shoving one another to the ground and attempting to throw punches.
A voice similar in timbre and tone to Kenny’s can be heard referencing “Fight Club” as she encourages them to brawl. At one point, the adult even quotes the book and movie.
None of the children involved in the fight appeared to have suffered serious injuries. Prosecutors believe it only happened once.
Attorney information for the women wasn’t immediately available. Kenny did not comment to NBC 4 New York when reached at her home, and White, was not home.
The accusations surprised White's neighbors.
"When I see them, they look like good people trying to get a start in life, but with kids, that's serious," said James Smith, a pastor.
Police say they’re continuing to investigate the fights at the day care and are asking anyone with information to call the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office at 908-527-4696.