Pearl daycare worker accused of assaulting 3-year-old now on leave of absence

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 11:05 PM CDT
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PEARL, Miss. (WLBT) - A Pearl daycare worker who was arrested and charged with assaulting a three-year-old is now taking a leave of absence.

On May 2nd, the Pearl Police Department arrested 61-year-old Reneatha Gibbs from A Fresh Start and Time to Learn Childcare Center.

However, following her arrest, Gibbs continued working at the daycare on modified duty, that is, until Tuesday.

After getting word of this, parents protested outside the facility, upset and frustrated that Gibbs was back inside the building.

“You got parents going to the police department saying, ‘Why is she there?’” said Jessica Willis who alleges Gibbs assaulted her daughter last month. While there is an open case, show respect to the parents and kids, and let this woman stay at home.”

Willis helped organize the protest. She’s accusing Gibbs of whooping her three-year-old, Madison, back on April 25th.

Willis said her daughter came home bruised and traumatized. As a result, Willis filed a complaint with the Pearl Police Department, who arrested Gibbs at the daycare last week. Willis said she’s now taken her daughter out of the daycare.

”If you don’t want to be in that class with those kids, find you a nine to five, find you other jobs, because being with children, it’s not right,” Willis expressed. If you can’t handle yourself in such a manner, don’t be at a daycare.”

One of the owners of the daycare, Kenneth Johnson, said Gibbs was working in the office and didn’t have any contact with the children.

He said they were notified on Tuesday that Gibbs would no longer be working there for the time being.

”We allowed Miss Gibbs to continue modified employment with office work and no contact with the children,” Johnson said in a statement. “Miss Gibbs informed us on today that her attorney advises that it would be advantageous to all involved to take a leave of absence pending a court decision. We feel all other antics are unnecessary. As mentioned in our last statement, the wheels of justice will prevail. Let’s all allow it to do so.”

Gibbs’ case has now been transferred to Rankin County Justice Court. She has hired an attorney and is out on a $10,000 bond. At this time, a trial date has not been set.

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