Civil trial underway against Emporia State, former Center for Early Childhood Education staffers Featured

Civil trial underway against Emporia State, former Center for Early Childhood Education staffers KVOE News file photo

Testimony continues in a civil trial against Emporia State University and two former employees of the university's Center for Early Childhood Education.


Trial began Tuesday in Lyon County District Court. Families of four children have accused Kimberly Schneider of multiple cases of abuse from early 2016 through June 2017, including forcible restraint, either with bodily weight or a strap; and demeaning the children, including yelling at them. In addition, the families accuse former director Keely Persinger of failing to act when they mentioned their concerns. The families also say their children suffered physical and emotional injuries, pain and suffering and anxiety.

The families are each seeking $2 million in damages.

Schneider has been accused of assault and battery. Persinger and ESU face separate counts of negligent supervision and negligent retention, while Emporia State and Persinger are also facing a joint count of negligence. Civil counts against the center were dropped last year.

Judge Steven Hornbaker from the Eighth Judicial District is presiding over this case.

An investigation into allegations of child abuse started in the spring of 2017 and was led by the Kansas Department of Children and Families and Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Schneider and Persinger were criminally charged a year later, with Schneider facing five counts of child endangerment and Persinger facing a count of failing to report suspected abuse or neglect. Both entered separate diversion agreements last year.

ESU has not commented on this case as it has developed. University spokesperson Gwen Larson says Emporia State is "focused on serving the current 58 students and their families."

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Last modified on Thursday, 14 November 2019 16:38