George Sells, KTVI, Reporting
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KTVI) — Video posted to Facebook is causing outrage in many circles, and Missouri’s Department of Social Services may be investigating it.
The images show a fist fight between two small children, with the mother of one of the kids egging them on, even offering instructions to the tiny combatants.
“Got some action! Got some action!” the woman can be heard yelling as she shoots the video. “Y’all better ball up some fists!”
The video was posted to Facebook on Sunday. An acquaintance of the mother in question alerted KTVI-TV. She asked not be identified, but spoke in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s just sickening and I feel like there should be some kind of criminal action taken,” she told us. “I couldn’t even watch the whole video. I had to stop it and look again. It was sad.”
She says the urging of the mother was as disturbing as the pictures themselves.
“Ball up your fist. It’s like she’s training her before she starts school or something. It’s sad because today’s society in the black community, its really sickening that these kids are learning how to fight, get guns and stuff, and it shouldn’t be going on.”
“Wow,” was the initial response of St. Louis child psychologist Russell Hyken after he was shown the images. “That’s pretty overwhelming. Those are small children that really don’t even understand what is going on. I mean one child is screaming and the other child continues to go after her. I mean what is going on here?”
That’s the very question we tried to ask Missouri’s Department of Social Services. We requested they view the video.
Spokesperson Rebecca Woelfel responded, saying, “State law prohibits release of information specific to a case or individual, so we could not confirm nor deny involvement in the case.”
Hyken says this case should be on the state’s radar.
“I think it is something that they at least need to be looking at. I don’ t know the law in that area, but as a therapist, and a family therapist at that, I’m pretty concerned the parents are encouraging violence and putting their kids in a physically abusive situation.”
The woman who alerted us to the video agrees.
“Knowing her in school, it seemed like a great mother and like she wouldn’t allow her child to do that, but with her going on with that like she was and coaching her child to fight and fight and was pushing her to fight as the kids are crying, I’m like oh no. There is no way.”
We’re not naming the woman who posted the video. Pictures of the children have also been blurred. That’s because, to this point, no charges of any kind have been filed. But, again, the Department of Social Services has the video and may be investigating.
The D.S.S. went on to say people should always report any suspicions they have of trouble.
In her statement, Woelffel said, “The Missouri Department of Social Services strongly encourages anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to call our toll free hotline at 1-800-392-3738.