FRANKLIN, Ind. - The owner of a Franklin day care said he is planning court action against a fired employee who accused his staff of spraying bleach on her child, saying a "vendetta" by the fired worker is causing his staff to live in fear.
“Oh my gosh, I’ve been living a nightmare,” said Prashith Srivastava, owner of Kid Company Day Care in Franklin.
The Call 6 Investigators reported earlier this month that two state agencies were launching investigations after an ex-employee complained that her child was sprayed with bleach by an angry teacher at the facility.
Investigators with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and Child Protective Services arrived at the facility, but were unable to substantiate the claims.
“I am fighting back,” Srivastava told the Call 6 Investigators this week. “It was not substantiated. There (was) nothing there, as we have been claiming all along.”
In two separate reports filed with the Franklin Police Department, Srivastava said he has been getting threatening and racist text messages from the fired worker. He also told police she has been following day care workers in her van, causing workers to live in fear.
“I will not let this go. This has to stop. It has caused me heartache, it has caused me a lot of stress, it’s caused my employees a lot of stress,” he said.
He also told police that the same "vendetta" was behind windows being smashed out on his day care, forcing the business to close for one day.
Attorney Andy Baldwin said he is preparing a legal filing for this week to ask a judge to bar the fired worker from going near the day care or its employees.
“She had been terminated from her job, she was upset by that, and now it’s turned into a campaign of trying to get back at Kid Co.,” said Baldwin. “We’re concerned about this thing, and a no contact order may help.”
The former employee who originally lodged the bleach spraying complaint with the state, Sally Southard, told the Call 6 Investigators that she is not harassing anyone.
“Of course he’s going to say that to try and cover his own butt,” she said in an interview at her home on Wednesday.
She admitted to sending the pointed text messages to the day care owner, including messages containing racial slurs, but she said she was only attempting to collect her final paycheck.
“Other than that, I have not harassed him in no way,” she said, adding that, “I got better things to do.”
She denied having anything to do with the window smashing at the day care.
“I know that place has got cameras all around it. I would not be stupid enough to go there and bust windows out, knowing that they got cameras all around there,” she said.
The surveillance video shows a person seeming to stay mostly out of the video camera’s view, and then raising a bat and swinging it at a window.
Franklin Police now have a copy of that recording and Lt. Kerry Atwood said the case remains under investigation. He said his department also received a report of employees being harassed by the former employee, but he said there was not enough evidence that a crime had been committed.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) and Child Protective Services both launched investigations into the bleach spraying allegations, and after inspecting the day care and interviewing employees, inspectors were unable to substantiate that the spraying incident had occurred.
Srivastava said their findings were a vindication for his staff.
He said his staff uses a bleach solution for cleaning surfaces in the day care, but he said the concentration of bleach is so slight that it could not possibly stain clothing.
Southard showed the Call 6 Investigators and state inspectors her son’s shirt, which she said was discolored by bleach from the spraying episode.
Srivastava said it was impossible for his staff to have caused the damage, as evidenced by a citation from the FSSA for having bleach bottles that weren’t strong enough.
“The irony here is… We got cited for not enough strength of bleach in the water,” he said. “We are the victim, and we are fighting back and we take it very, very seriously."