Early Head Start teacher terminated amid allegations of child abuse in the classroom

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A teacher with an early learning program in Charleston County has been terminated following allegations of child abuse in the classroom.

Lasonya Washington, 42, was arrested Monday on four counts of unlawful conduct toward a child, according to jail records.

Two reports filed with the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD) detail incidents involving Washington at Midland Park Early Head Start.

In one incident, reported on April 12, the victim’s parents told North Charleston officers their 3-year-old was assaulted by her Head Start program teacher during a March 13 naptime.

The minor suffered bruises and was taken to a hospital and placed under psychological care, according to the report. Parents of the child said the incidents were on video but told police they were only allowed to watch one of the incidents.

In another report from North Charleston PD, officers responded to the facility on May 1 about a juvenile being assaulted in mid-March.

The victim’s mother said she was informed the school had video of her daughter being assaulted. She said that since her daughter has been going to the school, she has been coming home with bruises on her back and arms, the report stated.

An outline of the video, provided in the report, says the assaults occurred sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. with the woman grabbing the juvenile by the wrist and dragging her toward the front of the classroom.

“Victim 1 fell as Suspect 1 [Washington] let go of her wrist. Suspect 1 then approached Victim 1 and forcibly grabbed her legs and placed them in the crisscross position. Suspect 1 then grabbed Victim 1’s right wrist and smacked her in the hand twice,” the report said.

When the child pulled her hand away, the report said the woman then grabbed a pointer and “cowered over the child as if she was going to hit her” with the pointer.

The report goes on to say Washington continued teaching as normal when another teacher entered the room.

Ian James, principal at the school, told officers that Washington had been terminated by the Charleston County School District. The district provided the following statement to News 2:

“We followed our protocols as soon as school and district leaders were made aware of concerns related to this matter. We have cooperated and will continue cooperating with law enforcement throughout the investigation. Ms. Washington is no longer employed by Charleston County School District.”

Officers noted in the report that it appears other students could have been assaulted by Washington.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to serve preschool children, infants, and toddlers, according to the district’s website. The purpose of the program is to provide early, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services.

Washington was released from the Al Cannon Detention Center on an $80,000 bond.