Five daycare workers from a Mississippi daycare have been charged with felony child abuse after a video went viral that showed them terrifying toddlers by wearing a ‘Scream’ mask. The video shows a daycare worker scaring toddlers and yelling at them while wearing the mask—apparently, multiple employees took turns wearing it and scaring the children.
The incident took place at Lil’ Blessings Child Care and Learning Center in Hamilton, Mississippi. In the video, the daycare worker wearing the ‘Scream’ mask is using a scary voice to yell at small children, who are shaking and paralyzed with fear.
[Content Warning: The video depicts an act of child abuse and some may find it is difficult to watch.]
In one part of the video, the masked worker gets right into the face of a toddler and begins screaming, “Are you being bad? Do I need to take you outside?”
During another moment, the woman in the mask can be seen bending down and shrieking in a crying child’s face as she shakes in fear.
“We are supposed to be cleaning up, monster,” the woman who is filming the video says, and the mask-wearer continues to go up to different children to scare them. The mask-wearer even chases after a young boy while screaming at him.
The video was initially posted to Reddit and quickly went viral. Law enforcement became aware of the video and the incident and immediately took action against the daycare center.
“On Monday October 17, 2022 the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the County Prosecuting Attorney, and the District Attorney met with the parents of the children involved in the incident at Lil’ Blessings Child Care and Learning Center and informed them of the possible criminal charges the law would allow them to pursue,” said Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook in a statement regarding the incident. “Parents were also given an opportunity to share information they had gathered with MCSO Investigators.”
Former employees Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman and Shyenne Shelton each face three counts of felony child abuse, and Traci Hutson faces failure to report abuse and simple assault against a minor, both misdemeanors, WTVA reported.
The owner of the facility, Sheila Sanders, told the Monroe Journal that she fired the employees involved after learning about the incident and watching the video herself.
“I don’t condone that and never have,” Sanders said.
Katelyn Johnson, a mother of a child who attends Lil’ Blessings, tells ABC News she was horrified when she learned what happened.
“I was in complete shock of what I witnessed,” Johnson says. “Whether they had a mask on or a mask off, their behavior was unacceptable. My blood pressure was raised. It broke my heart for my child. I was angry.”
Alyssa Hayes, a mother of a toddler at daycare center, feels similarly.