Two day care workers face charges after allegedly watching children bully 5-year-old

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Columbus police released this screengrab from surveillance video at the Worthington Learning Center and said the investigation was ongoing. (Columbus Ohio Police)

Two day care workers in Ohio have been arrested for allegedly standing by and watching as children taunted and bullied a 5-year-old girl, according to authorities.

Emma Dietrich, 31, and Joshua Tennant, 27, both faced charges of endangering children. The victim was identified as S.K. in the incident report.

According to a news release by Columbus police officers arrested Dietrich and Tennant on Tuesday at the Worthington Learning Center after watching an Aug. 13, 2019, video recorded at the day care center.

In the video, which police have not yet released, Dietrich and Tennant could be seen sitting at a table in a classroom.

PHOTO: Emma Dietrich and Joshua Tennant in police booking photos.
Emma Dietrich and Joshua Tennant in police booking photos.

“At 11:21 a. m. S.K is brought into Ms. Dietrich’s classroom by one of Ms. Dietrich’s older students (identified as L.B.). In the video the older students are grabbing, pulling, dragging, swinging, and just ‘bullying’ S.K., she appears frightened and keeps her eyes closed or covered and attempts to curl up into a fetal position. At one point S.K. attempts to get away from the other student and they continue to ‘bully’ her by grabbing her and holding her down,” the incident report says.

“During the video, Ms. Dietrich and Mr. Tennant continually sit in their chairs at a table and watch the ‘bullying’ actions of the other students against S.K. and do not attempt to … stop the ‘bullying’ actions of the students. At one point in the video Mr. Tennant picks S.K. up by her right ankle (eventually he grabs her left leg) and carries her upside down and places her back on the rug. The Worthington Learning Center has been cooperative through the scope of this investigation,” according to the report.

Documents from Franklin County Municipal Court accused Dietrich of creating “a substantial risk to the safety” of S.K. “by violating a duty of care and protection.”

Court documents said “older students/children (assaulted) S.K. by hitting, grabbing, pulling, holding her down, restraining her,” but said it was used as “a form of discipline.”

In a screenshot from the video that Columbus police released on their Twitter page, a man, apparently Tennant, could be seen holding a child upside down.

The owner of the day care center is cooperating with authorities, Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX said Tuesday. When ABC News called the center, a woman who answered said the staff was teaching and she could not answer any questions.

Tennant was scheduled for arraignment on Monday; Dietrich was arraigned Wednesday. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and was represented by a public defender. She will make her next court appearance on Oct. 16.

Both have been released on bail.

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