MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A woman whose 3-year-old daughter was allegedly slapped by a teacher at the Lincoln Marti School in Miami Beach filed a lawsuit against the school this week, a week after the teacher was arrested.
Attorneys Mark Eiglarsh and Jason Turchin are representing the mother and spoke to reporters Thursday about the lawsuit.
"We've alleged in this lawsuit that the daycare failed our client both in terms of hiring this woman and poorly educating and training her, and the result is a harmed child. (It) should never have happened," Eiglarsh said.
Clara Luz Quintero-Gonzalez, 54, was arrested last week on four counts of child abuse and one count each of child neglect and torture.
Police were called to the school Aug. 25 after another parent, Laura Pantano, said she witnessed the abuse on a school surveillance monitor, and angrily confronted that teacher.
"I thank her because she went there and stood up for all the kids," Paola Hincapie, who is suing the school, said.
Hincapie's 3-year-old daughter, Sofia, is one of four children that former teacher is alleged to have hit. She said she saw the surveillance video when Miami Beach police called her for an interview.
"This teacher jumped over the other kids and hit her -- slapped her on her hands like that," Hincapie said.
Police said the video shows Quintero-Gonzalez punching, slapping and yanking students.
Detectives said they confronted the teacher with the video, but she either denied the incidents or said that "it was nothing."
"Why did it take the police to have to review a DVR to find out there's data on there allegedly showing this teacher abuse these children?" Turchin said.
In a statement, Lincoln Marti Schools said it has not yet been served with the lawsuit.
"We will reserve comment to allow our attorneys to address the allegations in court, preserving the integrity of the process and the privacy of everyone involved," the statement said. "Lincoln-Marti has provided its immediate and voluntary cooperation to the authorities that are investigating this incident and will continue to do so."
A representative from the Florida Department of Children and Families said they are investigating the teacher's actions, as well as the practices at the preschool and the company as a whole.