An employee of a Macon day care center was arrested Tuesday and charged with cruelty to children.
Cassandra Ellen Gray, a 36-year-old employee at The Learning Place in south Macon, is accused of grabbing a child by the arm and scratching the child as she lifted her off a sleeping pad on the floor about lunchtime Monday, according to a Bibb County Sheriff’s Office report.
The child’s mother told a deputy Tuesday that her daughter came home from day care with scratches on her arm. When she asked her daughter what happened, “her daughter told her that Ms. Cassandra did it,” the report said.
The child’s mother spoke with the day care’s child coordinator and was allowed to watch surveillance video of the incident. She told a deputy she watched as Gray “grabbed her child several times (by the arm that was scratched) and yanked her off of the floor,” the report said.
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“That’s not right,” the child’s mother told a deputy, according to the report. “The school said they would fire her, but I want to press charges on how she grabbed my child.”
The first time a deputy watched the video, Gray was in the office.
“She stated several times, ‘(The child) was really acting out yesterday! I don’t normally have a problem with her,’ ” a deputy noted in the report. Gray also repeated that the child “constantly does things to hurt herself,” including “jabbing herself all over with a hair clip.”
A sergeant and a deputy then watched the video three times with the day care’s child coordinator.
On three separate occasions, the deputy noted, “I could see clearly that Ms. Gray had wrapped her hand around the juvenile’s left arm ... and (lifted) her from her sleeping pad.”
Some of Gray’s interactions with the child were not clear or happened out of view.
The deputy interviewed the child’s main teacher, who said she’d never seen the child hurt or scratch herself intentionally, except for scratching ant bites, the report said.
When the deputy interviewed the child, she “skipped out of the classroom and gave me her hand,” the report said. When asked about the cuts on her arm, the child said Gray did it. When asked about some other scratches, the child said, “I did that one. I got bit by an ant and it was itchy,” the report said.
After Gray was told she’d be arrested, she said she didn’t do anything and maintained that the child had hurt herself, the report said.
Gray, of a Bloomfield Drive address, was charged with cruelty to children in the second degree. She was booked in the Bibb County jail late Tuesday morning and released about seven hours later on a $8,450 bond.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning began investigating the incident Wednesday after the day care reported it Tuesday.