CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An alleged incident at a Charlotte daycare is ringing the alarm for one parent.
Grace Gehrls said she noticed bruises on her 3-year-old son, who has autism, after picking him up on Thursday afternoon from Creative Kids University-North. She told WCNC Charlotte she wants to know what happened.
"I fed him. I changed his shirt so I saw that he didn't have any bruises. I picked him up three and a half hours after," she said. "And then I saw he didn't want me to touch his body when we got home. I gave him a bath and I saw all of the bruises on his neck, on his arm, scratches on the back, and then on the stomach."
The mom said she reached out to the daycare immediately.
"I want to know who watched them yesterday because wouldn't you know what happened to him? He's three years old. They couldn't give me an answer," she said.
Gehrls said the director wanted to review the videos first.
"I enrolled Liam there because we were told that we had security running 24/7 in each room. That gave me the peace of mind," she said. "I went back to the daycare around 5 p.m. and they were there. I said 'I want to view the videos with all of you', and they wouldn't let me view the videos."
Gehrls took her son to the emergency room and gave WCNC Charlotte a copy of the discharge report, which showed the reason for the visit was assault.
"The doctor said that his bruises are not as a result of a fall or a bite mark, they're not," Gehrls said. "It is a result of someone grabbing him really hard that causes bruises on his body. And the doctor told me to file a police report, which I already did."
WCNC Charlotte obtained the incident report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department listing "simple assault" and a crime against a child. The creation of an incident report does not signify whether or not a crime occurred.
"I was so thankful with the PD. They were there right away. They were there at the ER. The officer went to see the daycare and went back looking for us," Gehrls said. "She said child protective services would be calling me and would forward to many other departments so they can do an investigation."
WCNC Charlotte also learned state authorities gave Creative Kids a warning in 2020, stemming from an October 2019 incident, in which a staff member allegedly disciplined a child, resulting in that child getting a foot fracture.
The owner of the daycare told WCNC Charlotte she had no comment until she conducts an internal investigation. She claimed to be out of town when the alleged incident took place.
In the meantime, Gehrls said she is not going to let her son go there any longer.
"It doesn't matter if they are five stars because of what happened to him. Especially if they cannot talk, you have to be an advocate for them. And I don't want this to happen to any children or parents. It's horrible," she said. "It's very heartbreaking. This is why I'm here today. So that way, this doesn't happen anymore. I want justice for him. I want to find out who did this to him and I want them to file charges with them, definitely."
She also offered parents a warning when looking for a daycare.
She said, "If something happens, are you going to report that to me right away? You have to be transparent. You have to know the staff working with you. Who are they?"