Can A Prank Become Felony Child Abuse?
Sometimes pranks can go too far especially when they’re done on toddlers.
Recently, a daycare in Hamilton, Mississippi USA witnessed an event where a prank went too far when five daycare workers wearing masks as part of the “prank” chased and shouted at toddlers at the daycare. The incident captured on video went viral on social media platforms showing terrified children running from the pranksters.
All the daycare workers involved in the prank were fired by the employer and have also faced charges of felony child abuse.
What Amounts To Felony Child Abuse?
Child abuse refers to emotional or physical harm to a child which includes neglect, endangerment, sexual abuse, or abandonment to a child.
Child abuse amounts to a criminal offence, if and when it is intentional, for example, a daycare worker accidentally bumping into a child cannot be termed as a deliberate act. However, a child pushed by a daycare worker amounts to an intentional act.
The legal consequences for felony child abuse under Mississippi, child abuse law amounts to conviction that ranges from a minimum of two years in prison to a life sentence, depending on the harm caused to the child/children.
Can the parents of the children so for a prank?
Parents of the traumatised children may have a civil claim for the intentional infliction of emotional distress. What amounts to a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress?
A conduct that is extreme or outrageous
Done, recklessly or intentionally
A conduct that has caused severe, emotional distress to the child.
Can A Day Care Waiver Signed By The Parents Save The Day Care?
Usually when a child is enrolled at the daycare, the parents sign a waiver that says you will not hold the daycare responsible for harm to your children. However, it may still not hold up in the court of law as a child’s right to sue cannot be waived off by their parent.
The daycare could be held responsible for negligence. If they had a duty of looking after the child, yet breached the duty, an injury physical or emotional was caused by the daycare, the act done by the daycare employees resulted into harm to the child. In the above explained, scenario “injury” does not only mean physical injury.