A mother, two former employees speak out about Monticello daycare

Mother Keisha Segal says she was told by an eyewitness that a new employee allegedly physically restrained her son on Thursday.

Posted: May 3, 2019 6:29 PM
Updated: May 3, 2019 6:42 PM

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) - A Monticello mother and two former workers are speaking out about Little Ras-kel's daycare. They said this was the last straw after the mother learned her son was allegedly physically restrained by an employee in an unnecessary situation.

It was just like any other day when Keisha Segal picked up her son from Brooke Johnson's care at the Little Ras-kel's Learning Center on Thursday.

"Brooke had come out to talk to me but what she had spoken to me about was just kind of everyday stuff, there was nothing about what happened to my son," she said.

Even though she later found out that Johnson did know about the incident. Segal had to find out through teacher, and friend, Whitney Labuda, who saw it all happen.

"Keisha's son screamed at an employee in her face," she explained. "And the employee got really physically angry and put her hands on him, grabbed him, picked him up, sat him down on her lap and squeezed him and restrained him."

Labuda said she told the new employee, who had only been working there a few weeks, to stop. Segal said she just wished she would have been allowed to deal with her son.

"Ask any employee or teacher at that daycare, when they tell me they (her children) are bad, they get reprimanded at home," she said. "That behavior is not allowed, but that is my job."

Segal said she has brought her children to Little Ras-kel's for eight or nine years. She claims this is the second time an incident has happened involving her son. She said that last year, as she went home to go to work, she drove past the daycare. That's when she said she found her son standing in the middle of the road, in the rain, with no shoes. She said Johnson was able to clear this situation, but it still left her uneasy.

"I was more furious last year, but this year I was just heartbroken because it's not a freak accident, that can't be explained away," she said.

Labuda said she is currently going to school to become a teacher one day. She said she has been working for Little Ras-kel's for about three years.

"It makes me angry, it makes me hurt," said Labuda.

"I was livid, absolutely livid," said Wendy Dabrowski, who was hired about three years go to help with the behavioral problems she said were happening routinely at the daycare.

"Whenever I first started, the behaviors were so bad that we looked it up in our guideline book and we were able to restrain a child who is showing violence, if they were going to hurt themselves or hurt somebody else."

She said they were told by the state to change that policy to more positive behavioral correction, teaching the children coping skills, giving them a space to let out their frustrations and the power of prayer. Dabrowski said there was a major difference in the children's actions as they developped these new skills. Labuda said she did not know if the employee responsible was properly trained on how to deal with unruly children.

Dabrowski said that Johnson does not spend much time actually working at the daycare. 

There are two locations associated with Little Ras-kel's. According to the state's Child Care Finder website, the learning center location has 12 critical health and safety violations and has had 65 violations during state inspections.

"I will never take them back there again," said Segal. "My message is just getting it out there for parents, if this is happening in Monticello, it is happening other places."

Dabrowski and Labuda are no longer employees at the daycare. News 18 did reach out to Johnson multiple times; she did not return those efforts with a comment.

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