A recreational aide at a summer camp has been fired over allegations that he hit a 7-year-old boy, leaving him with a black eye and a large knot on his head, then failed to report the incident.
Authorities are investigating head injuries that 7-year-old Tyler Rattray of Lauderhill suffered while attending summer camp at Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park, 2520 N.W. Sixth St., near Fort Lauderdale, on Tuesday, July 28.
Tyler was treated for minor injuries and released Tuesday from Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, according to investigators.
The aide, Michael Edwards, could not be reached for comment.
“I’m not in a position to comment, but he has been terminated over the incident,” said Chester Pruitt, superintendent of Broward County’s central district parks. “We made the decision it was in the best interest of the county to separate from Mr. Edwards.”
Pruitt said county officials would release more details at a later time.
The child’s father, Vernal Rattray, reported the incident to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which has forwarded the case to its abuse and neglect unit. The abuse and neglect unit will forward the case to the state Department of Children and Families, according to Keyla Concepcion, a BSO spokeswoman.
Rattray told BSO, which is investigating the incident as a case of misdemeanor battery, that he got a call around noon Tuesday from a parks representative, stating that he should pick up his son from camp because the child fell and hit his head.
Rattray told the South Florida Times that when he picked up his son on Monday evening, Edwards brought the boy to his truck. Tyler had a large knot on his head and swelling on his face.
“He [Edwards] told me my son fell,’’ Rattray recalled. “There was a large knot on his head, and he said they put ice on it and the swelling had gone down. Later that night, Tyler complained his head was hurting and that’s when the other children, who also attended the summer camp, told his mother what really happened.”
Rattray said he then took Tyler immediately to the emergency room for treatment. The next day, on Wednesday, July 29, the boy was still sporting the medical ban placed on his wrist at the emergency room.
Swelling on the boy’s head and a blackened right eye were still visible.
Tyler said the camp counselor saw him hit another child in the camp, and then ordered him to slap himself, to see how it feels. When he refused to slap himself, Tyler said, Edwards grabbed Tyler’s hand and slapped it against Tyler’s face, forcing the boy’s head into a wall.
Tyler’s father withdrew him from the program the day after the incident and reported it to the park’s manager, Valerie Wolberg.
“She said she was not told my son had been injured and it should have been reported,” Rattray said. “They called me later that day and said they fired him, but I have not heard anything else.”
Rattray took his son to BSO headquarters on Wednesday and reported the incident.
“I took my son out of that program,’’ he said. “The county should have reported this to the police, but didn’t. I want this guy prosecuted, because he had to use a lot of force for this to happen, and never gave my son medical attention.’’
Requests by the South Florida Times for Edwards’ personnel file are pending with Broward County’s Human Resources Division.
Based on information provided by the county’s payroll division, Edwards was hired on June 10, 2009, and earned $8.38 per hour.
Pictured above are Tyler Rattray, left, and Vernal Rattray, right.