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Cops: 2 daycare employees arrested after video shows little girl dangled upside down, bullied

Investigators say the 5-year-old tried to curl up into a fetal position.
Credit: Columbus Ohio Police

Two employees at an Ohio daycare are charged with endangering children after investigators say a video showed a child being bullied in front of them.

According to law enforcement, Emma Dietrich, 31, and Joshua Tennant, 27, are accused of sitting at a classroom table on Aug. 13, as a 5-year-old girl is brought into the area by one of Dietrich's older students and children grab, pull, drag, swing at and bully the little girl.

Police say it happened at the Learning Center of Worthington near Columbus, Ohio.

Investigators said the bullied student appeared frightened and kept her eyes closed. Authorities say she covered herself and tried to curl up into a fetal position.

At one point, officers say the girl attempts to get away from the other students, and they continue to grab and hold her down.

During the video, both teachers continually sit in their chairs and watch and do not attempt to stop any of it, according to police.

Investigators say, at one point, Tennant picks up the girl by her right ankle and carries her upside down and places her back on the rug.

Dietrich and Tennant were arrested last week.

Police said the Learning Center of Worthington has been cooperative through the scope of this investigation.

10TV talked with Learning Center of Worthington owner Lisa Rowe. Rowe said she was “heartbroken” over the incident. She said she immediately fired the two workers when she saw the video. She said she first learned of it through children services. Rowe said her employees go through extensive training and there is “zero tolerance” for this behavior.

Columbus Police released a freeze-frame shot from a surveillance camera inside the Learning Center of Worthington daycare.

The single-frame shows kids in a semi-circle watching as teacher lift a 5-year-old by her ankle off the ground while another teacher sits and watches.

The girl's mother says police told her it didn't stop there.

"On the video, you could see the kids surrounding her. And she was laying on the ground in a fetal position and they were advised to take their shoes off and hit her with the shoes and swinging her around by her arms and legs," she says.

10TV is not identifying the mother to protect the identity of her 5-year-old daughter.

She says it's hard to imagine this would happen in a daycare she once trusted.

"I want to know why, but the same time I don't know if I want to know of, If anything, can justify the reasoning behind what happened. I kind of what to know if this happened before. I don't feel like this is the only time," she says.

She believes the incident may never have come to light if not for a child who told a parent what he witnessed in the classroom, and that parent, says the mother, called children services.

"Another child notified their parent and that's how it got brought up, and if that child hadn't said anything, we wouldn't have known," she says.

10TV went to the Columbus homes of the daycare workers identified by police, but neither came to the door for comment.

Both are accused of "violating a duty of care and sitting by watching students, hit, grab, pull, and hold down the girl as a form of discipline and not preventing or stopping the assault."

For the girl's mother, she says she's grateful the daycare fired the employees when the allegation surfaced.

"They acted very quickly," she said.

You can see the state inspection report about the daycare here.

RELATED: Mother says Ohio daycare employees in video should never work with children again

RELATED: Daycare driver charged in death of 2-year-old left in van

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