Four nursery workers who went viral after recording themselves scaring kids with a horror mask from movie franchise 'Scream' on have been charged with child abuse and face up to ten years in jail.
The workers, from Lil’ Blessings Child Care in Monroe County, Mississippi, were all fired after the eyebrow-raising stunt that left the children, aged between three and four, in hysterics.
The four women, Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman and Shyenne Shelton, are facing three counts each of felony child abuse, meaning they face possible jail time.
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A fifth woman, Traci Hutson, faces failure to report abuse and simple assault against a minor, both misdemeanors, reports in the US state.
In the clip, children scream, cower and hide while a worker, perhaps more than one, go from room to room wearing a Ghostface mask.
Ghostface is the main villain in the 1990s horror film Scream.
Workers in two different outfits swoop close into the children's faces, and in one scene the kids are seen scampering to the back of a room to hide.
"Are you being bad?" the worker asks the child in another part of the video, leaning close. "Do I need to take you outside?" the worker then screams.
She hollers in the traumatised child's face again and and adds: "You better be good."
Daycare owner Sheila Sanders told local press that she only learned of what happened when she saw the viral clip, adding that she fired all of the women involved.
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"I don’t condone that and never have," Sanders told the Monroe Journal.
Parents say that while they are disturbed by the video, they support the daycare centre.
Chas Allen told the Monroe Journal that the day care centre is important for Hamilton.
"A lot of people are saying, ‘Shut it down. Shut it down,’ but I don’t think they’re thinking about the implications that that might have," Allen said.
A misdemeanour conviction for child abuse in the US may bring a few days, months, or up to a year in jail.
Felony convictions can easily result in sentences of 10 years or more in prison, according to CriminalDefenseLawyer.com.
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