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Criminal charges dropped against teachers who supervised preschool fight club

ST. LOUIS - After our exclusive October 2018 daycare fight club report, people worldwide demanded accountability. The former teachers were then charged with child endangerment. Now those charges have been dropped after a grand jury reportedly found “insufficient evidence.”

However, that’s not stopping a concerned mother's push for action.

The former teachers operated a one-day fight club at Adventure Learning Center on Gravois in December 2016. The heater had stopped working and the teachers came up with the idea for the fight club to keep the kids entertained.

Former teacher Tena Daley could be seen jumping up and down in excitement. Former teacher Mickala Guilford could be seen putting Hulk fists on the children before each fight.

Mother Nicole Merseal told us last October that she only found out what was happening at her former daycare when her older son texted her video.

“He said that the daycare workers were making them fight, not helping them,” Merseal said.

She declined to talk on camera about the dropped criminal charges but her attorney wrote today, “Ms. Merseal believes the teachers used very poor judgment that day, but her primary concern has always been that Adventure Learning Center continues to operate without repercussion while receiving generous state child care subsidies to do so.”

No one at the center was available to respond Wednesday and no one had a comment during our reporting last year.

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said they took the case to a grand jury and that “…the jurors believed the evidence was insufficient to move the case forward. We understand the community’s reaction to a case like this, and we share the same concerns about the safety of children. Although we knew this was a close call, we believed it was the right thing to allow the grand jury to make the decision.”

The childcare center did fire both teachers after the 2016 incident. Merseal is still suing the child care center in civil court, with the next hearing possibly leading to a trial date.

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