Friday, October 20, 2017

Lawsuit claims: Exploration Station pre-school teachers resigned rather than lie to state about abuse of two-year-old

A lawsuit filed today in Jasper County Circuit Court sheds light on the sudden closing two weeks ago of the Exploration Station Pre-School, 3132 E. 12th, Joplin.

According to the lawsuit, teachers at the facility resigned rather than sign a document to back the owner's version of what happened during the continuing punishment of an Oronogo two-year-old.

In their five-count petition, the plaintiffs, Nick and Adrienne Weston, Oronogo, allege that Exploration Station owners Charyl and Chad Copher and co-defendant Kayla Copher were responsible for false imprisonment of their son, who is referred to as J. W. , intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional address and negligence due to child endangerment and abuse.

The petition spells out what the Westons claim happened during the short time J. W. was at Exploration Station and how they came to learn about the extent of what had been done to their son:

(O)n or about July, 2017, Nick and Adrienne Weston, legal parents of J.W., engaged the services of Exploration Station Preschool and Childcare for the care of J.W. during the workday. J.W. was a typical two-year-old child that occasionally cried when his parents dropped him at the facility, but according to all written reports the child would be fussy at drop off or nap time, but would be “great” the remainder of the day. 

Nick and Adrienne Weston were told by Charyl Copher and Kayla Copher that if a child became too upset, they would contact the parents to come to the facility and calm the child. Over time, the parents noticed that J.W. seemed more upset than usual at drop off and Nick Weston called the facility to discuss how to best address the issue. 

Kayla Copher said she appreciated the parents' willingness to work with them, and felt that the child would adjust over time. On one occasion, when Adrienne Weston picked up the child she was informed by two teachers outside the classroom that J.W. was having a “breakdown.” 

Upon entering the room, Ms. Weston noticed that Kayla Copher was frustrated with J.W., and she commented that the child seemed to get upset when the teacher in his classroom was switched out during the afternoon. 

Again, the Westons discussed with the staff how to address the issue, and Ms. Weston began leaving work early to pick the child up prior to the teacher change in mid-afternoon. 

On September 25, 2017 Adrienne Weston received a call from Charyl Copher that J.W. had a “bad fit” right before nap and hit his head and face on his cot, but they didn’t notice any injury until after his nap. There appeared to be some bruising and they were treating it with ice, but didn’t want her to be alarmed at pickup about his condition. Charyl went on to say she had never seen a child act so badly. This confused Ms. Weston, as the written reports on J.W. were always good other than fussy at drop off and nap time. 

Ms. Weston arrived at the facility to pick up J.W., and was surprised at the severity of injuries to the face, head and neck of J.W. from hitting a nap cot, and was going to take the child to the doctor immediately. Cheryl, Kayla and the teachers did not have matching accounts of the incident. 

She immediately requested a copy of the incident report from Ms. Copher to provide to the doctor. An incident report was reluctantly provided. En route to the doctor, J.W. was unusually clingy and lethargic, and kept complaining he was hungry. The doctor noted the abrasions and scratches, but felt that those would properly heal over time, and the bigger concern was the social aspect of what happened at the facility. 

Ms. Weston made the decision to terminate services at Exploration Station, as she felt she was not given an accurate account of the incident with J.W. that resulted in such injuries. 

On October 6, 2017, the Westons learned that Exploration Station was closing because all of the childcare teachers voluntarily terminated their employment with the facility. 

On October 7, 2017, the Westons were invited to a private Facebook group by former teachers at the facility, and learned that J.W. was emotional and crying the morning of September 25, 2017 in the classroom. The teacher was working to soothe the child when Kayla Copher removed J.W. from his classroom. Kayla returned with him a short time later, and he began to cry. This took place three or four times in a short period of time. The last time the child was not returned to the classroom. 

The classroom teacher stuck her head out the door of the classroom to look for J.W., and she could hear him screaming her name. She went toward the child and found he was being forced to lay on the lunchroom floor. The child attempted to get to his teacher, and Charyl and Kayla would not allow it. 

The child was removed behind closed doors with Charyl and Kayla, so that no other staff members could witness their actions. The child was then locked in a dark room alone until he could calm down, and was not fed any lunch. 

The child was returned to the classroom for nap time where he appeared so scared he would not even move on his cot, and it was at this time that the injuries were noted by the teacher. 

Charyl Copher typed an untruthful statement regarding the incident, and told each staff member they were required to sign the statement, so they “would all have the same story in case the State comes in to investigate.” 

The teachers/staff members all chose to voluntarily terminate their employment based on this incident, and the facility closed October 6, 2017. 

(S)ince September 25, 2017 J.W. has suffered from severe separation anxiety if one or both the parents leave his presence, and suffers from fear of the dark at bedtime and night terrors which were not present prior to actions of the Defendants. The child is in need of psychological care and therapy as result of the Defendants’ actions.

Nick Weston and Adrienne Weston have suffered and continue to suffer emotional distress because of the injuries and suffering of their small child at the hands of Defendants.

The Westons, who are represented by the Tracey Martin Law Office, Joplin, are seeking at least $25,000 in actual damages, punitive damages and costs. They are asking for a jury trial.

26 comments:

Unknown said...

I have a child who attended this facility over the summer and she told me a few stories. It is starting to make a little more sense. This is heartbreaking.

Abbey said...

I hope the Westons win. The owners are insane.

Unknown said...

Wow! I would be in jail if this were my child! Shame on Charyl and Kayla Copher! Pathetic excuse for a human being!

Anonymous said...

Omg this is the Daycare i took
My three year old to... I got 3 calls in the 4 days he was there all saying he was throwing a tantrum and screaming ow when they were "barely touching him". That Kayla chic always looked like she was so pissed to be there and when i explained that we were going through a screening for autism, she seemed very annoyed and the last call i got ( his 4th day there) ahe told me it wasn't gonna work out not even an hour after i dropped him off..

Anonymous said...

I would be in jail right now nobody lays a hand on my child. They are pathetic,discussing human beings. I believe in karma

Unknown said...

My son went to this daycare for about 3 weeks and I was informed of neglect and abuse of the other children and my son was scared to be left each morning. I immediately found other care for him! The owners are awful! I’m so sad for this little boy!

Random said...

This is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. If your child self inflicted the wounds and has a mental illness then it is your responsibility to be a parent and not take them to a daycare and when the child goes crazy try to go after the daycare. Absolutely obsurd and ridiculous.

Random said...

It's people like you that should be ashamed of yourselfs. Talking bad about a daycare when the child is clearly has mental issues. The kid self inflicted wounds and as a parent they took there kid there and now is trying to make money off of it.

Anonymous said...

First all they were not self inflicted, second the boy had no mental issues. The boy has issues now! Due to what happened to him, any person would, How dare you say they were self inflicted wounds, and this child had mental issues, must be the owners or their family. Shame on you!!! This family has a long road ahead of them to help tere son over come the abuse,

Unknown said...

You are an idiot! When the whole teaching staff resigns because they won't lie for the owner's account of the situation, pretty much sums up what happened. Now a child is traumatized after abuse and neglect from these idiots. Don't post "anonymous", post with your real name you POS!

Anonymous said...

"Unkown" and "Random" must be the daycare owners. This place has a history of terrifying incidents, they should've been shut down years ago.

Anonymous said...

I had my child there for 9 days over 4 weeks & the final 3 days my son acted scared. On the last day I was picking him up & was told the teacher had all the kids at the restrooms.I waited outside the door& heard the teacher screaming at a child. My child walked out crying & the teacher squeezing my son's arm. She let go, instantly turned on the charm & tried to explain. I pulled my kid & owner threatened me. I am so glad someone shut them down.

Unknown said...

My daughter used to go to this daycare before Kayla Copher was involved. She loved her teacher, who quit due to family issues, but I was never quite sure about others. My daughter never complained of any problems but I did show up unexpectedly one day and witnessed the cook spanking a child, whom I found out was the owners’ son. My daughter graduated out 4 years ago. I assumed that since it was the owners’ son that they were aware and gave permission for the spanking. Though now I wish I would have said something then.

Unknown said...

You are wrong. My child attended this facility and when I showed up unexpectedly one day I witnessed a child being spanked by the cook. This was several years ago so this has obviously been happening for some time

Corey stryker said...

So all the employees quit their jobs just for the hell of it? What do they stand to gain by doing that?

Anonymous said...

I'd be right beside you. As a dad, it would take more restraint than I'm capable of to not go there and whip someone's ass.

Anonymous said...

I had a funny feeling about Kayla Copher from day one. She was always very charming, to the point it seemed forced. On the day that I enrolled my daughter I witnessed Kayla bringing a boy out of their very small office by the wrist and leading him back in to the cafeteria. I didn't think much of it at the time because I did not witness what had actually happened. Then one day while i was dropping her off I witnessed Kayla punishing a boy with timeout on the floor in the lunchroom. She had him sitting in front of all the kids while they ate. He was VERY upset. I went home angry because I thought it was unnecessary to get on to him like that in front of the other children. Shortly after that my daughter came home with a big red bump/welt on her arm. She is can be clumsy so we assumed it was self inflicted or a bug bite, but now I am not so sure... my daughter always seemed so excited for school and never complained about anyone being mean her but this is crazy. We pulled her out just before kindergarten started. I feel terrible now for not being more suspicious about what I saw.

Unknown said...

I worked there about 3 months ogo. I'm do glad I got away when I did. However I really wish I'd had paid closer attention to them when they took a child who was having a tough day out of the classroom... I never seen any abuse but they always threw the kids food out in trash while the kids werestill eatin. Kaylee would grab the food and tell them sorry you are done.. It made me so mad.. Kayla is a straight bitch who was always very rude and mean to the kids. They all were scared to death of her.. Well both of them.. and Cheryl is a complete freak with major issues. I never seen any physical abuse but I definitely knew that something was up with them.. Both of them acted as if they hated kids and there jobs.. kayla was always letting her kids run all over the daycare, including outside.alone The little boy would always run from room To room disturbing the class and getting the other kids in trouble.. He was so bad. Kayla never made them mind they had no rules. They just ran wild.. But she was quick to take a child outta the room and bring them bk scared and crying but if it was her kid she'd just ignore it.. I have to say none of this surprises me. I just find it hard how 2 people who are mothers could both b so wrong on so many levels.. This makes me sick that they were getting away with this and I didn't even catch it.. Who in there right mind could hurt a child.. Goes to show that there are some abnormal messed up, people in this world who I might add are very fake. They sure tried putting on the goody Christian face.. But most could see right through them. I hope they pay big.. Sand I hope all others who witnessed this come forward with charges as well

Unknown said...

They are responsible for his care while he was there. If there was nothing to it why did all the teachers quit. Who are you someone connected to the owner and the other abuser?

Shaylee Albee said...

Krista, you said you worked there 3 months ago? this is around the time my daughter was attending. She was in the pre-k class. Were there any girls specifically that u can remember having a hard time, getting pulled out of class? U can email me at shayalbee@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

>>>They sure tried putting on the goody Christian face..<<<

Jeebus!


>>>But most could see right through them.<<<

Surprise surprise surprise!

Matthew 6:5-6-

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Anonymous said...

My 2-1/2 year old attended there and right around summer time (June 2017) she started throwing complete fits about going to school. She had never behaved in that manner before and luckily we were able to keep her home throughout the summer. I began hearing all kinds of insane stories about the owners/family from previous employees and knew we would never allow that place to "care" for our child again. We have since enrolled her in The Lion Cub Academy...BEST child care center EVER! She absolutely loves it and wakes up every morning excited to go to her "...new school..."

Unknown said...

I went to this daycare I'm 17 but I went to this daycare when I was young and Chad and charyl were the nicest people and owners I ever met. We still talk today. This never ever came close to happening with me or anyone I was there with.

AnonTech said...

I'm just wondering where you got this "self-injured" and "mental issues" claim. I certainly don't see any mention of it in the lawsuit nor do you provide any proof of your claims.

BTW: Very cute of you to change your username to "Random" after someone called you out on using "Anonymous". How...child-like.

AnonTech said...

Why didn't you - or any of the other parents on the "me, too!" train - make a complaint to to police, or child welfare, or the State? I sure as hell would have been jumping up and down on some desks, demanding an investigation. NOTE: I'm not denigrating or denying your experience, just trying to understand why you left it at removing your child - leaving other parents to go thru what you did.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.