Esquimalt daycare ‘fight club’ video sparks Island Health investigation

Esquimalt daycare 'fight club' video sparks Island Health investigation

An Esquimalt daycare is under investigation after a video surfaced showing children fighting while daycare staff watch. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

A video taken in Esquimalt’s Anderson Park on Tuesday is prompting outrage with parents.

The footage shows young children hitting and kicking one another as daycare workers stand watching the wrestling.

Katie Bernado’s 11-year-old son shot the video on his cellphone.

“He said it seemed like a daycare fight club,” said Bernado Friday,” For my 11-year old son to see this and feel it wasn’t right, I don’t understand how adults can think it’s right.”

At one point, the wrestling moves from the sidelines to the forefront as the video shows children sitting in a half circle, cheering on the fight.

The adults are believed to be employees of nearby Ciara Early Childhood Centre.

Despite efforts, CHEK News was unable to reach the daycare director.

The Island Health Authority’s daycare licensing branch confirms they are now investigating.

“Children can certainly rough house spontaneously and that is something that happens time to time during play, but this is actually encouraging this sort of behaviour. Basically, you’re almost setting up a pediatric fight which is just not acceptable,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Standwick.

Because the centre’s operator has been co-operating and has been understanding of the gravity of the incident, Dr. Standwick says their license will not be revoked.

However, the Ciara Early Childhood Centre will now be considered it a high-risk daycare by the Island Health Authority until they have a resolution. The investigation is expected to take a couple weeks.

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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