JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A teacher at an Arlington Catholic day care was fired after an incident involving a 4-year-old boy who said he was intentionally hit in the face with a soccer ball.
The little boy's mother said her child spent several days in the hospital after he was allegedly hit by a teacher at Christ the King Child Care Center in July. She said the teacher got upset because the boy accidentally hit her with the ball.
"My son and I were walking from my car, and he explained a teacher hit him in the face," the mother said. "I asked him, 'What do you mean she hit you? An accident?' He said a teacher hit him in the face with the ball."
According to the mother, who shared the above photo of the boy in the hospital after the incident, doctors diagnosed him with "emotional distress."
The superintendent said the teacher was first put on administrative leave with pay, and the day care alerted the Department of Children and Families and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
The mother said before the agencies completed their investigations, the teacher was back at work. She said more should have been done to address the incident.
"We allowed her to come back to work in our maintenance department, not supervising children until we had a chance to read the DCF report ourselves." said the Rev. Scott Conway, a Catholic deacon and the school's superintendent.
The teacher was later terminated, Conway said.
The mother shared with News4Jax a message she had for the school:
"I know that we rely on people to keep our children safe. I have work. I have school. I can't be with my son 24/7, and I rely on them to keep him safe.
The fact that no one did anything until I spoke out, that's the only reason I'm here today. No one contacted me, no one did anything."
DCF continues to investigate. A representative said the school has had only three minor infractions since opening almost 10 years ago.
The mom says her boy is doing OK and now attends another school.