PEEKSKILL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police said it was no way to resolve a conflict.
A youth center worker and his wife, worried about bullying, face charges for helping their daughters fight back, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reports.
Latena Fitzgerald denied any wrongdoing after a dispute at Peekskill’s Kiley Youth Center, where she took her 7-year-old twins, Aniya and Amiya, to confront a 10-year-old girl over alleged bullying.
“I did not even touch her! Only thing I said to her was to leave my kids alone,” she said.
Police said words got heated and then things turned physical.
“The 10-year-old alleges she was held by the mother of the other girls, and the parents allowed their two daughters to assault her while she was being held,” Peekskill Police Chief Gene Tumolo said.
Cops said Fitzgerald’s husband, Samuel Randolph, threw a chair that hit the 10-year-old in the back.
Randolph works at the youth center. The director said it was appropriate for cops to file charges.
“Any time children are involved with safety you have to protect them,” Jasper Cain said.
“It just sends such a terrible message when kids see parents behaving in this way,” Chief Tumolo added.
Fitzgerald said she and Randolph have talked repeatedly to the alleged bully and her mom, and thought it was time for their kids to fight back.
“He told Aniya to hit the girl back and that would be the end of it and for her to leave her alone. The little girl got out the chair and slapped my daughter, right in front of us. That’s what caused the big outbreak,” Fitzgerald said.
Everyone involved lives in the same public housing complex. Fitzgerald said to help defuse tensions she has sent her daughters to live with family in Connecticut.
The couple was hit with endangerment charges and a restraining order to keep away from the 10-year-old.
The accused couple is now waiting to find out if Randolph will lose his job at the youth center.
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