CRANFORD, NJ – Erica Kenny, 22, of Cranford, and Chanese White, 28, of Roselle, both former employees of the Lightbridge Academy in Cranford, have been charged with fourth-degree child abuse. In addition, Kenny was charged with third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Union County Prosecutor, Grace H. Park, on Tuesday.
The two are accused of instigating and encouraging fighting among a group of children at the establishment last month.
White and Kenny were charged via summons last Friday and Monday, for encouraging fighting among a group of children at the establishment last month. An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit recently revealed that the defendants instigated fights among children ages 4 to 6, at the Lightbridge Academy on South Avenue East in Cranford on at least one day in mid-August, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sheets, who is prosecuting the case.
Kenny is further accused of recording video of the fights with her cell phone and sharing the video clips with several friends on social media via the Snapchat app.
Lightbridge Academy, formerly called the Rainbow Academy, issued this statement Yesterday:
Today the Union County Prosecutor’s Office informed us that charges have been filed against two former staff members related to their encouragement of children to push and shove each other on the playground on August 13th. As parents and caregivers, we are shocked and saddened by this isolated incident and we have assisted the prosecutor’s office from the start of its investigation into this matter.
While no children were physically harmed during this incident, we have a zero tolerance policy for anyone who acts in conflict with the core value of Lightbridge Academy – the safety and well-being of children. We terminated the employment of these staff members and have maintained open communication with our parents throughout this process.
We sincerely thank our parents and dedicated staff for their support and patience. The actions of these two individuals do not reflect the culture of Lightbridge Academy and what we have stood for more than 18 years. While we will continue to fully support and assist the prosecutor’s office, we remain focused on the education and well-being of all children in our care.