Police investigating alleged child abuse in Jerusalem kindergarten
Mother of three year old picks up son from Jerusalem kindergarten to find him bruised and lethargic; X-Ray shows he suffers from a fractured cheekbone; kindergarten teacher claims he tripped and fell, while child tells mother he was pushed onto sink.
This is every parent's nightmare. "At 1:30pm, I came to pick up my son from kindergarten and found him with his head resting on the table," a tearful Silvi recalled after discovering her son had allegedly been beaten at his kindergarten.
The police has launched an investigation into the case.
"I thought he was tired and had fallen asleep, so I called out his name," Silvi recounted. "He lifted his head and to my horror, I saw that half of his face was swollen, with hematomas and cuts. But what worried me more was his behavior, he was lethargic. I have twins who suffer from severe allergies, so I unfortunately know how to identify signs of a loss of consciousness. He was completely lethargic, his head drooping, and he only reached out with his arms, speechless. I picked him up and in that moment, he threw up. I immediately rushed him to the hospital."
Silvi cried throughout the entire interview with Ynet. Even today, five weeks after the case, she is still finding it hard to return to normal and comprehend the effect of her baby's injuries.
Maor was going to a Chabad kindergarten in Jerusalem, a municipal kindergarten for three year olds.
"Their regular teacher went on maternity leave two months ago and was replaced by a substitute," said the mother. "I heard other parents say they were unhappy with the substitute, and that she was treating the children badly. But I never imagined it would be to such an extent."
Silvi said that the ER staff immediately examined him when they saw the state he was in, then asked her what had happened.
"They called the kindergarten and the teacher claimed he had fallen. Tripped on a Lego and cut himself. The orthopedist examined Maor and said 'I've seen many cuts in my day, this is no Lego injury.'"
A facial X-Ray showed that Maor suffered a cheekbone fracture and a mild laceration. He was referred to further testing by a maxillofacial specialist, and discharged home to remain under observation for a month.
"For a week, Maor couldn't say a word, not even 'mama.' I had to leave work, or rather I was fired, because I had to care and monitor the child at home, feed him mashed foods, and mainly not budge from his side as he kept crying," continued Silvi.
A week following the injury, during an orthopedist's check up, Maor finally managed to speak. Silvi said that "the orthopedist asked him if he could talk and the child only mumbled at first. But then he burst into tears and said: 'I asked the teacher for a glass of water and she wouldn't get it for me, so I asked again because I was really thirsty, and then again, and she suddenly got angry, took a glass of water and poured it on my clothes.' The orthopedist asked him where he had gotten the bruises, and he said: 'She pushed me onto the sink.'''
The mother went on to say that "Since the injury, the child is having trouble eating and had lost a lot of weight. To this day, he's still not himself. He is currently seeing a psychologist. Every night, he's woken up by nightmares, saying 'She pushed me, she hit me, I'm scared.' He won't go to kindergarten anymore. The damage she inflicted on him is mostly psychological, I think. Only a week ago did I manage to go to the police station to file a complaint as I couldn't leave his side before then. The kindergarten supervisor told me she had immediately suspended the teacher, so I wasn't worried. Now we're waiting for the child protective investigator to question him. I don't know what is really going on at the kindergarten, but the parents claim she is still there."
"This little boy is my whole world. It isn't easy for me to deal with what happened," she added. "He's such a gentle child, but even if he were a troublemaker there would still be no reason for the kindergarten teacher to behave like she did. Children are helpless, they're at the mercy of adults."
The Education Ministry offered the following response, "The incident is being handled by all the professional authorities in the region and is under police investigation. We will act in accordance with the investigation's findings."
The Israel Police also issued a statement, saying that "An investigation was opened immediately following the filing of a complaint, and it is still ongoing. At this point, we cannot divulge any more information on the case, but we will say that given the circumstances, the police are acting with sensitivity in an effort to get at the truth."
The kindergarten management team and the kindergarten in question have yet to respond to our requests for an interview.