News 3’s Elizabeth White spoke with the child’s mother Shanna Crowder on Tuesday shortly after she signed the warrant against Gladys Moore. Crowder tells News 3 the horrific events unfolded before her very eyes when she and one of her co-workers picked up her daughter early because they were attending a Christmas parade.
“I’m heartbroken. I feel like I have failed my child by sending her there and I don’t want this to happen to any other kids,” Crowder told News 3.
Thursday, December 6th, Shanna Crowder picked up her little girl, Ella Cate, early from Greater Peace Child Development Center in Opelika. Crowder works as the activities director for a local senior center. She was preparing to take her seniors and her family to a Christmas parade. Crowder says she was walking back to Ella Cate’s room with her co-worker when she saw Moore yank her daughter from her cot and begin abusing her.
“Thursday afternoon I popped in on her at 1:30 in the afternoon where normally I pick her up around 5:00. A co-worker and I watched the teacher snatch her off her cot after hitting her three times in the back and taking her to her chair, slamming her down in her chair and shoving her chair to the table and slamming her head down on the table by the back of her head,” described Crowder.
Crowder said when she hurried into the classroom to get her daughter, Moore denied doing anything wrong. Crowder says she went to the center’s director Angela Alexander. Crowder says Alexander acted concerned at first. Crowder says she and her co-worker, who witnessed the assault along with her, met the next day with Alexander and requested Moore be fired. Crowder says the director refused to take action against the employee.
“She gave me two options, one to bring Ella Cate to school every day and have her picked up by 1:00 because that’s the time the teacher got there or remove her from daycare. She said she did not have enough evidence to fire the teacher,” said Crowder.
News 3 visited the daycare and spoke with Director Angela Alexandar who refused to comment. We do not know if Moore remains at the center.
Crowder then called Opelika Police. Detectives tell News 3 an investigation is ongoing and The Department of Human Resources has been notified. Crowder took cell phone videos of Ella Cate as the child described spankings the little girl says Ms. Gladys gave her and other children at the center. Police are investigating to see if more children may be involved.
Crowder says Ella Cate’s backside was red and over the weekend she developed bruises on her body. Tuesday, Crowder signed a warrant against Gladys Moore for Assault 3rd Degree. Police are in the process of locating Moore and making the arrest.
“I’m an activities director at an assisted living facility. I love what I do, and I can’t imagine harming one of my residents or letting anyone else harm them,” said Crowder.
Meanwhile, Crowder has enrolled Ella Cate in a new daycare and is working to calm her child’s fears while making other parents aware.
“She has a lot of questions as to why someone would do this to her. We have enrolled her in a new daycare center, and she wants to know if they are going to spank her too. I have assured her I will be in and out checking on her often,” said Crowder.
Crowder says she spoke with Pastor Clifford Jones who is the well-known leader of Greater Peace Baptist Church. Crowder says Pastor Jones is on the board at Greater Peace Child Development Center and assured her the situation was being handled. News 3 reached out to Pastor Jones who says he is gathering the details and will let us know when he’s ready to make a statement.
As of Tuesday afternoon Moore still had not been located by Opelika Police. We will update you when Moore is taken into custody. Stay with News 3 as this story continues to develop.