‘I had a lot of faith in the place’: Parents speak out after daycare workers charged with child cruelty

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:55 PM EDT
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FOUNTAIN INN, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Last week we learned two employees at Excel Academy, a childcare center in Fountain Inn, were charged with two counts of child cruelty. This comes after officers say the two employees put ice packs in a child’s clothes for no other reason than to make them suffer.

Now we’re learning the case has been forwarded to SLED to investigate, and the child’s parents say they’re pushing for harsher charges.

The child in this case was only 9 months old when it happened back in August. The child’s parents say they found out it happened through a relative that worked at Excel Academy. The parents say they want justice, and they want to make sure that never happens to another child.

“I was really shocked I had a lot of faith in the place,” said Tanika Adams, the mother of Londyn Sullivan.

After a difficult search for childcare, Tanika Adams and Tirus Sullivan found a place they thought would be perfect for then 9-month-old Londyn.

“It made me feel safe and they told us we could see videos whenever we had questions,” said Adams about her initial impression of Excel Academy.

They say things were going well, until they started noticing something. Everyday Londyn would come home in a different outfit, and her other clothes would be damp.

“I could never figure out why.” she said.

A relative of Adams worked at Excel Academy. Admas says the relative heard Londyn crying frequently, and one day she went to her classroom to check on her. That’s when she noticed one of the classroom teachers had put a frozen sponge down her back.

“They [Excel Academy staff] were just like ‘oh she was falling asleep and we were trying to keep her awake.’ Well, you don’t keep her awake like that” said Adams.

Officials believe it was done to intentionally make the child suffer. A thought the Londyn’s parents just can’t comprehend.

“I couldn’t get my thoughts around exactly what happened but now that we’ve seen the video, it’s just upsetting,” said Tirus Sullivan, Londyns father.

They say the surveillance video made reality so much worse.

“Londyn’s falling asleep, as she falls down like this, they’re popping her head back up one time she adjusted her in the seat and pushed her back, one time she’s falling asleep and they’re beating the table hard right in front of her” said Adams describing the video.

They say it was more than an hour worth of video, and the whole time the teachers were keeping Londyn awake.

Fountain Inn police charged both Joy Lynne Lashway and Kimberly Diane McCall with 2-counts of child cruelty. Adams says the video shows the teachers doing the same thing to another child in the class. Fox Carolina learned this isn’t the first time Excel Academy has faced a complaint.

“You think you’re going to work and your child’s going to be fine,” said Adams.

According to SCDSS online records, Excel Academy has three separate “high severity” complaints on file. One of which happened last year and has since been labeled as “resolved,” the other two complaints are still pending, they were filed August 30th, just 6 days after the ice-sponge incident.

DSS officials say “high severity” could be the most serious of violations where something has posed a risk to the health and safety of a child.

“It really broke my trust,” said Adams.

Just one day before arrest warrants were issued for Lashway and McCall, Excel Academy did post a message on their facebook page. It’s not clear if this post was related to the incident.

No other information regarding the incident or the suspects was released from investigators. We’ve reached out to Excel Academy for more information on the situation.