Before applying to work at an east Macon day care center in 2013, 30-year-old Karina Bonner hadn’t taken any child care training courses.
Her employment records filed with the state show she’d worked as a customer service cashier at Eckerd Drugs and Kohl’s, and as a cashier at an Ocmulgee Boulevard Subway restaurant.
Under a section labeled “experience with groups of children,” she wrote that she’d been a babysitter, cared for her own son and worked as a volunteer at another day care center.
Allegations that Bonner improperly disciplined children at Coliseum Child’s Play Inc. this summer sparked criminal and state regulatory investigations and three lawsuits.
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Bonner was arrested Aug. 15, charged with eight counts of cruelty to children stemming from alleged incidents at the center, located adjacent to Coliseum Hospital. The center is not affiliated with the hospital.
The Telegraph filed an Open Records Act request with the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning in September seeking information gleaned through its investigation.
The state regulatory agency produced the records Monday after imposing a $499 fine on the center and finding evidence substantiating complaints that Bonner improperly treated children in her care.
Reg Griffin, a department spokesman, said Coliseum Child’s Play had an opportunity to appeal the fine, but did not. A representative of the day care center declined comment Monday afternoon.
Despite Bonner’s claim that she was separating two children from fighting “like big boys” when she grabbed a 4-year-old boy’s arm June 29, video footage shows the boy was jumping up and down before she grabbed him by the arm, pulled him and jerked him, according to a letter informing the day care center of the fine.
I would never hurt my children. … All my parents love me and the way I work with their kids.
Karina Bonner wrote in a statement
Video evidence also showed her handling six 4-year-olds “roughly” that day, grabbing them by the arms, faces and ears, slapping a child’s face, squeezing a child’s shoulder, shoving a child into a chair and pushing a chair “forcefully into the table” as a child was seated,” according to the letter.
Bonner denied all allegations of abuse in a statement dated July 7, saying “I would never hurt my children. … All my parents love me and the way I work with their kids.”
In an interview with a state investigator, Bonner said “time out” — either with children sitting at a table or standing against a wall — is the only form of discipline she used.
Another allegation — that a teacher pulled a 4-year-old up from a chair and over to a wall by the child’s ear June 13 — wasn’t substantiated though there was some evidence to indicate it might have happened, according to investigative records.
The state investigation began after a complaint was filed July 1.
Bonner was released on $22,200 bond Aug. 16, the day after her arrest.
The Department of Early Care and Learning issued a letter Aug. 18 barring her from being present at a child care facility while children are present.
If she’s found at Coliseum Child’s Play without her “unsatisfactory determination” being lifted then the center will lose its operating license, according to the letter.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story.