Parents sue daycare after child was bitten by snake on playground

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John’s Island, SC— A family is suing a John’s Island daycare after they say their baby came home with serious injuries. Their lawyer told News 2 that at least two more families called with similar claims after seeing our report on News 2 earlier this week.

The parents said they sent their baby to Live Oak Little School off River Rd. on Johns Island. According to the family, she came home first with a snake bite, next with a dislocated shoulder and finally with a gash on her head. They say the pattern of neglect is what brought them to sue the daycare facility.

The family’s lawyer, Matthew Pecoy of McGrath Law Firm, showed us pictures of the then 9-month-old child, her arm swollen and blue after she was bitten by a copperhead snake on the playground at the daycare in September of 2013. Pecoy described what happened afterwards. “My client had to go to the school to find her child in pain and followed her to the hospital where she was informed by surgeons that she may have to have her hand amputated,” described Pecoy. “Luckily, for my client’s family, the child’s hand was saved after administering some anti-venom, but that was without a lot of pain and suffering and recuperation.”

In February of the following year, her parents say she came home and was not able to use one of her arms. Yet again, they took her to the hospital where they learned that the child had suffered a dislocated shoulder. Pecoy told News 2 how they think the incident happened. “Through other teachers that have come forward and other witnesses, we believe that the child was reprimanded in inappropriate fashion by way of corporal punishment.” Pecoy said. “Jerking her up off the chair is what we believe happened.”

The following September of 2014, the family says the child came home with a gash on her head and Pecoy told News 2 how the child’s mother came to find out about the injury. “She noticed a hairclip had been clipped, kind of braided over her daughter’s hair and my client didn’t put that in the child’s hair to start so when she got home, she removed the hairclip and found a gash in the child’s head.”

The parents say that after the second and third incident, they did not receive any notification from the school about their child’s injuries. The family says more important than any one of these cases is the pattern. “There was a systematic sort of neglect and turning of eyes and sort of a mindset that was allowed to permeate by the owners of the school,” argues Pecoy.”

Pecoy says they’ve had at least two families came to them with similar claims. “Other families have come forward to speak with us and we’re investigating their claims right now.” They’ve also had former teachers tell them that the daycare was run improperly. “Some of the ex-employees have claimed that there was a pattern of not following internal handbooks and not following employee codes and not following certain policies and also regulations established by the state,” says Pecoy.

Pecoy says this case matters on a macro scale as well. “When children are entrusted with others and they can’t necessarily speak, this is a case that kind of helps protect them and speak up for them and serve as a voice for them, if things are not being handled correctly in these daycare facilities.”

We also talked in person with the owner of the daycare. She said she had just talked to her attorneys and she could only give this statement. She said, “we are vigorously defending these allegations.” That was the only information that she said she was allowed to share.

Live Oak Little school has a location on John’s Island off River Rd. and a second location off Ft. Johnson Rd. on James Island.

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