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Day care teacher grabs 3-year-old girl's neck, mother says

DCF investigates incident at Orange Park day care in which child was injured

Photo provided by mother of her 3-year-old daughter's injury
Photo provided by mother of her 3-year-old daughter's injury

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A 3-year-old girl was injured when she was grabbed by the neck by a teacher at an Orange Park day care Wednesday, the child's mother said.

The Department of Children and Families confirmed Friday that it is investigating the incident that happened at Bright Start Daycare on Wells Road, which is off of U.S. 17 and just south of Interstate 295. 

The child's mother, who did not wish to be identified, said she noticed a "welt" on her daughter's neck when she picked her up Wednesday afternoon. She said when she asked the girl about the injury, her daughter said her teacher told her to say a cat did it. 

"And then Lucy goes, 'OK. So and so got mad at me because I wouldn't take a nap. She grabbed me and took away my blanket, and I cried and cried and cried for you and you didn't come.' At that point, I was obviously really upset," the mother said. "They told me that she's a liar, that my 3-year-old daughter is a liar."

The girl's mother said she thought her daughter would be safe at the day care.

"I've read a couple of horror stories about 'this happened at a day care,' and I never thought it would happen to me but it did. It freezes your emotion because I want to do more but I need to take the appropriate steps to make sure I get justice the right way."

The manager of the day care told News4Jax that he denied the incident happened, saying the child's injury appeared to him to be a bug bite.

He said he's been in business for 25 years and has never had any problems. 

According to DCF records, no problems were found when the facility was last inspected in 2015.