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Pinellas deputies arrest preschool teacher for repeatedly punching 4 year-old on playground

Deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested a preschool teacher for child abuse on a student on Wednesday, August 10, 2022.

Deputies responded to Kindercare Learning Center, located at 1990 Main Street in Dunedin, after reports of a child abuse in progress. During the course of the investigation, deputies discovered that a witness overheard screaming coming from the playground of the preschool.

The witness observed 32 year-old Ashley Richards yelling at the victim and repeatedly punching the 4 year-old child with both an open and closed fist to the back and side of the head. Richards was also observed pushing the child to the ground and yelling “Do you want me to hit you?” The incident was captured on the witness’ cell phone.

Richards has been employed as a preschool teacher at Kindercare Learning Center since March of 2021 and has now been placed on Administrative Leave as a result of the incident.

The child told investigators that he got in trouble for fighting with his brother and Richards hit him in the back of the head and in the eye as a form of punishment.

Richards was charged with one count of Felony Child Abuse and transported to the Pinellas County Jail.

The investigation continues.

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