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Mom to sue daycare, says son was forced to fight another child

It's been almost a year that a mother has fought to get answers, or even an apology, from the Children's Universe of Lake Conroe Daycare.
It’s been almost a year that a mother has fought to get answers, or even an apology, from the Children's Universe of Lake Conroe Daycare.

CONROE -- It's been almost a year that a mother has fought to get answers, or even an apology, from the Children's Universe of Lake Conroe Daycare.

Heather Howerton sensed something had been going on with 4-year-old son at the daycare for months, but told KHOU she couldn't get any answers.

"When he had injuries, I asked to speak with somebody," said Howerton. "She never contacted me."

One day in December 2014, she got answers after the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services called her about a video of her son fighting another child that was posted on social media.

"Once he falls to the ground, he looks at the camera and he looks at his teacher for help and she says, 'Get up, Grayson, get up and fight,'" said Howerton.

After watching the video, she said she realized the teachers were encouraging the children to hurt each other.

"I was livid. To think that somebody could be so sick and sadistic to film little kids. These little boys are 4-years-old. They're babies," said Howerton.

She went right back to the daycare.

"When I asked to see the video and they would not (show me), I contacted the authorities," said Howerton.

After the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office began investigating, no charges were immediately filed. So Howerton turned to attorney Greg Fibich to help file a lawsuit, hoping it doesn't happen to someone else.

"It's the ultimate trust that we extend to someone to take care of our children and it's just terrifying this could happen at a daycare facility," said Fibich.

The owner of the daycare, Brooke Leax, released a statement on Thursday:

As of 6pm tonight we have not been made aware of any lawsuit. The incident in question occurred in 2014 and was immediately reported to the authorities by myself and our director. We cooperated 100% with the investigation which was closed by the police and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services several weeks later. The employee in question had been terminated for unrelated reasons prior to the initial report. The safety and well being of the children in our care is and will always remain our first priority.

Fibich told KHOU 11 News that state regulators have issued five violations against the daycare.

Howerton hopes bringing attention to the incident will push change in how daycares hire and train employees.

"Little children that are not able to verbalize what someone could be doing to them in that facility, it gives me chills," said Howerton.