MPD investigating alleged abuse in after school program

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — Mishawaka Police are investigating accusations of a battery against a 6-year-old child at Emmons Elementary School by an after-school staff member.

“When I looked at my daughter’s arms, there were still some red marks on them.” Amanda Ritchie said.

Ritchie tells ABC57 her 11-year-old daughter witnessed the abuse. She says the after-school staff member places her hands on her child for refusing to pick up a book.

“The teacher with the club forced her down by her shoulders and grabbed her arms and forcefully made her pick up the book and put it on the table because she refused to pick it up.” She said

Her daughter, Mia, is a first grade student at Emmons. She also has special needs and can be defiant at times, according to Ritchie.

“She was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. It’s on the same spectrum as Autism and ADHD.” Ritchie said. “Mia, often when she is confronted, will shut down.”

Ritchie also claims a similar incident happened last year.

“They grabbed her by the arms and dragged her across the floor to sit her against the wall because she refused to go and sit against the wall.” She said.

School City of Mishawaka didn’t return our messages. But, we learned, the after-school care is run by Compass Club, which is a part of the Boys and Girls Club.

The executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County sent the following statement:

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County is aware of a complaint involving an employee's correction of a Club member's behavior. The children we serve are our top priority, and our organization is committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior and integrity. The Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will not comment further pending completion of an investigation, out of respect for the privacy of those involved.”

“They need to step up their game. They need to take action. They need to make sure their staff is trained.” Ritchie said.

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