The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Daycare responds to lawsuit


June 14, 2018

CLOVIS — The director of a Clovis daycare said state and local authorities were immediately contacted, parents were notified and the employee seen fighting on video was quickly fired after a May 3 incident that’s now the subject of a civil lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges negligent hiring, assault and battery and emotional distress following the incident in which a daycare employee, identified in court records as Elizabeth Parrez, allegedly injured a young child while in a physical confrontation with another employee.

Daycare Director Ashleigh Tackitt said she immediately called local police and the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department after the incident and issued communications about the incident to parents through a letter available at the daycare’s front sign-in desk. Police contacted the affected child’s parents that day while Tackitt was still speaking with CYFD, Tackitt said.

Parrez has not been charged with a crime. Clovis police did not respond Wednesday to questions about whether there is a criminal investigation in connection with the incident.

Attempts Wednesday to reach Parrez were unsuccessful.

Tackitt said the daycare has not been found negligent or otherwise reprimanded for the incident by CYFD, although she believed the agency’s investigation of the incident was still open.

Candy McDonald and Robert Wiley filed the civil lawsuit this week against Clovis’ Future Generations Early Concepts Learning Center and Parrez, seeking damages for injuries they say their young child suffered after being struck during the fray.

The incident, captured on a video circulated by area news outlets this week, shows two daycare workers in a physical confrontation “in front of over a dozen terrified four-year-old children,” said the complaint.

The woman Parraz was fighting is not a defendant in the lawsuit, and she still works at the daycare, Tackitt said.

Attorney Eric Dixon of Portales said the child was “traumatized psychologically,” and “emotionally shaken up” by the incident, while still being evaluated for physical injuries.

Parrez was “banned from the premises” of the daycare, Tackitt said.

Tackitt said she does not know what led to the fight. Dixon said he also does not know.

Attorney Hal Greig, representing the daycare, said he had not been served yet with the lawsuit but would “timely and aggressively respond to it and defend” his client.

“The facility is in compliance with all standards and regulations,” he told The News. “The facility was transparent throughout this process and contacted all authorities.”

Dixon said his clients are “seeking monetary damages for the medical expenses past and future, pain and suffering, and also punitive damages to punish (the daycare).”

“We’re just very appalled at the activities of these adults,” he continued. “They’re supposed to be the adults and this poor little girl got kicked in the head. It’s very upsetting. I think the video speaks for itself.”

Tackitt said she has been with the daycare since it started 11 years ago, and that the incident is “not a representation of our center or our staff.”

Parrez had been with the center about 8 months, Tackitt said, and had passed all background checks before hiring. She said the daycare followed and exceeded the prescribed policies and procedures from CYFD.

She said the daycare has not been served any other lawsuits or had charges filed on it since it opened, but acknowledged a 2015 incident wherein CYFD cited it for leaving a girl unattended for 15 minutes in an enclosed playground.

“We 150 percent own it, but changed our policies and procedures since then,” she said.


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