Anger after nanny apparently forces food down three-year-old’s throat

Henry

A video showing how a daycare worker from the Woelwaters daycare center in Kroonstad is apparently trying to force food down a toddler’s throat has outraged parents – and numerous social media users.

The video, which has since been widely distributed on social media, shows how the woman, in an incident that took place on Wednesday, repeatedly shouts at a crying three-year-old and apparently forces him to eat his food. In the video, the woman can be seen grabbing the child by his hair and trying to force the food down his throat.

“Chew your food! If I have to give you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, I will. I know how, but today you will eat your food, bro. I’m done talking now,” says the woman to the crying child.

In the footage, the boy can be seen gasping for breath and presumably choking on the food – which appears to be being pushed down his throat.

Leah-Anne Wagstaff, the boy’s mother, says she was there at the time of the incident and made the video herself.

“I worked for two months under Jean-Louise Kachelhoffer for this daycare center, but I realized very quickly that the way she works with the children and what she does to them is totally unacceptable.

“This woman broke my heart. I had barely worked for the center for a week when a similar and even worse incident occurred.

“Kachelhoffer tends to usually make hot curry that burns too much for the children’s mouths. I will never forget; there was a little girl who refused to put her mouth to the burning curry, after which Kachelhoffer pressed her against a freezer and forced her head back.

“She forced that food down the child’s throat, covered her nose and hit her on the cheeks while she shouted at the child to swallow,” says Wagstaff.

“It broke me. I was in tears, I didn’t want to go back to work, but I knew I had to – for the children’s sake; I had to try to protect them, I wanted to try to keep them safe.”

She says that the negative comments people made after she shared the video caught her completely off guard.

“Yes, it was me who took the video, but I did it for a reason. I did it for the children who are too afraid to speak, for the children who cannot speak and for the parents of these children.

“I just wanted everyone to see what a monster this woman is,” says Wagstaff, crying.

“The incident took place last Wednesday. Kachelhoffer sent me a message on Thursday to ask if I overslept – because I was late for work – I just let her know that I didn’t want to work there anymore after what she did to my child,” says Wagstaff .

She says welfare workers have been informed of the incident, but nothing has yet come of the complaint.

“The police were also informed about the incident, but they informed last week that they cannot file a case against Kachelhoffer because the evidence is believed to be insufficient.

“The police think that my child was just fed. This is definitely not what happened, my child is not a difficult eater, he likes meat and food. I’ve been there, she didn’t ‘just feed’ my child, she forced food down his throat and it’s not the first time she’s done something like this.

“It’s just not right for me, she does it with many other children too, including a two-year-old baby. Children are placed in this woman’s care, her day care center is not even registered. I just wanted her to be caught,” says Wagstaff.

She says that she was at the police again on Monday to make a statement.

“I’m just coming back from the police station, they took me and my boy’s statement and are apparently now on their way to Kachelhoffer.”

The police explained that they will investigate the incident.

“I will continue to fight for these children who do not have a voice. My own son has a bruise after this cruel incident. It is unacceptable that children of his age, and even younger children, are treated like this, I will keep fighting until she gets what she deserves.”

‘Video looks worse’ than reality

When asked, Kachelhoffer said the video looks much worse than what actually happened.

“Leah-Anne literally asked me moments before the incident to help her with her child because he is a difficult child. He is very busy, he is always everywhere,” she says.

“She upset her own child so much. She was busy with the children in class, then he didn’t want to eat, he shouted at his mother and told her to shut up and leave him alone. That’s when she approached me for help.”

She tells that the boy did not eat the night before and that she wanted to make sure he got something to eat.

“Leah-Anne came to me and asked me to please help her with her son because he wouldn’t listen to her. I didn’t force him to eat, I helped his mother because she asked me.

“The video looks really bad, I look like a terrible person, I didn’t think at that stage, but if people could see what happened after I got the towel and washed my hands, people would see that the child when he ate all his food, all by himself,” she says.

“Yes, I fought with him and my voice is very loud, but I didn’t want to do anything to him, I would never let anything happen to a child in my care.”

She believes the incident was short-lived.

“The video ends where I ask one of the classmates to fetch a towel. When I got the towel, I wiped the three-year-old’s mouth and told him that he was a big boy and that I didn’t want to fight with him all the time about nonsense. He calmed down afterwards and even ate his food,” says Kachelhoffer.

“Afterwards I gave him a ‘high five’ and a little star and told him that he had done well.

“His mother stayed here until 5:00 p.m., here at the school where her child is believed to be mistreated like this,” says Kachelhoffer.

She also suspects that Wagstaff wanted to use the video to get at her – after a row between them – by sharing it on social media.

“My little school is my whole life, I started it, I made it what it is today. I will fight my fingers off for this school. The video makes me appear bad, but I’m not a bad person, I didn’t try to hurt anyone.”

Capt. Loraine Earle, police spokesperson, says the police are investigating a complaint of assault after the incident was brought to their attention.

“After completion, the dossier will be sent to the Department of Public Prosecutions for a decision.

“The police appeal to the community not to take the law into their own hands and to give the police the necessary space to investigate the case,” says Earle.