Two former day care workers in New Jersey are accused of encouraging fights between young kids, recording the scuffles on their cell phones and referring to them as a kiddie Fight Club on social media.
About a half-dozen short videos have been obtained and reviewed by investigators, and show kids between the ages of 4 and 6 at Lightbridge Academy in Cranford hitting and shoving each other to the ground, Mark Spivey, a spokesperson for the Union County Prosecutor's Office, told BuzzFeed News.
Erica Kenny, 22, and Chanese White, 28, have been charged with fourth-degree child abuse, officials said. Kenny is facing an additional charge of endangering the welfare of a child.
As the children fight on the playground, Kenny is heard in the recordings encouraging the kids and calling it a "fight club," referencing to the 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, according to a statement from prosecutors.
Kenny allegedly then shared the short videos with friends via Snapchat.
The recordings, which included about a dozen boys and girls fighting one-on-one and in group fights, are believed to have occurred on the same day in August, but investigators are looking into whether other fights took place, Spivey said.
None of the children were seriously injured, Spivey added.
An employee at the Cranford day care center referred BuzzFeed News to Lightbridge Academy headquarters. According to a statement released by the company, Kenny and White were both fired after prosecutors contacted the company.
"As parents and caregivers, we are shocked and saddened by the actions of these two individuals and we have assisted the prosecutor's office from the start of its investigation into this matter," the statement read. "We terminated the employment of these staff members and have maintained open communication with our parents throughout this process."
According to the company, Lightbridge Academy has more than 60 locations in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Kenny and White are expected to appear in court Friday.
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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