Day care employee accused of hitting child with ruler

4-year-old girl suffered bruises, police say

APOPKA, Fla. – A day care employee is accused of hitting a 4-year-old girl with a ruler hard enough to cause bruises, according to the Apopka Police Department.

The victim told authorities that Learning Tree Academy employee Janet Gainer, 54, was the teacher who hit her on Monday, the report said.

The victim's guardian called the day care about the incident and Gainer admitted to hitting the child during a confrontation, but denied using a ruler or any other object, according to the affidavit.

Police said that the square shape and size of the two bruises on the victim's arm were consistent with being hit with a ruler.

Gainer told her boss at Learning Tree Academy the victim was "crying over a toy as usual" and took a shoe and used it to hit another child and a teacher. In an effort to demonstrate that hitting hurts, Gainer said she "popped" the victim once on the hand  and told her not to hit people, according to the report.

Learning Tree Academy's disciplinary policy does not allow for corporal punishment in any instance. 

Police said the victim told them that she hit her friend while spinning around then she went and hid under a table. The girl said Gainer pulled her out by her arms and hit her multiple times with a ruler, the report said.

"The injuries indicated (the victim) was struck with a substantial amount of force, thus causing (her) to sustain two significant contusions. The injuries are not consistent with simply being 'popped' as Janet described," officers wrote in the affidavit.

Granier, who has been employed as a teacher at Learning Tree Academy in Apopka since August 2016, was arrested Thursday on a child cruelty charge.

Learning Tree Academy release a statement about the incident Friday afternoon.

"A teacher at Learning Tree Academy is believed to have violated the disciplinary protocol of Learning Tree Academy. Learning Tree Academy does not condone this type of behavior and will continue to cooperate with authorities. Learning Tree is dedicated to the healthy development of our children's emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive needs. In the past 20 years this is the first incident of this nature. Learning Tree administration are taking steps to learn from this unfortunate situation and do all we can to prevent it from happening in the future."

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