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Day-care workers accused of urging toddlers to fight -- on video

August 21, 2012|By Rene Lynch

Three Delaware day-care workers are accused of urging two 3-year-old toddlers to fight each other while the adults egged them on -- and videotaped it, police said.

"No pinching, only punching," one of the adults allegedly coaches the children. It's the story that is setting the Internet on fire Tuesday, along with "toddler fight club" headlines.

The employees of Hands of Our Future day-care were arrested Monday after police viewed "the cellphone video of an incident that occurred in March of 2012 where the three female employees watched and encouraged two 3-year-olds to fight each other while at the day-care," according to a Dover Police Department statement posted online.

The suspects have been charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment and conspiracy. They were identified as Tiana Harris, 19, and Lisa Parker, 47, both of Dover; and Estefania Myers, 21, of Felton.

According to police, "Hands of Our Future LLC Daycare has had their City of Dover Business License suspended pending a hearing."

A call to the Dover Police Department was not returned before this story was posted online.

But Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump told FoxNews.com that the video was "difficult" to watch: "One of the kids involved ran over to one of the adults for protection, but she turned him around back into the fight."

The children "were just wailing on each other," Stump said in an interview on NBC10, WCAU. "I  mean punching, slapping, pinching, throwing each other into tables."

The video allegedly shows the adults urging the kids to duke it out, with fists. The video is not being made public at this time, authorities say, because it's evidence.

Police say that one of the children can be heard in the video saying "He's pinching me!," according to CBS Philly. One of the day-care workers allegedly responds, "No pinching, only punching," the TV station report.

About 10 other children were looking on at the time.

Although the incident happened in March, it only came to the attention of a police officer this weekend, during the course of an unrelated investigation.

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rene.lynch@latimes.com

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