Deputies: Video shows Venice daycare worker abusing children

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Deputies arrested a worker at a daycare in Venice for child abuse after they say surveillance video captured her pushing and dragging several toddlers in her care.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said a parent alerted deputies after watching surveillance video from the daycare, which authorities did not immediately identify due to Marcy's Law.

FOX 13 has since confirmed the alleged incidents happened at Manasota Beach Daycare and Preschool in Venice. While a FOX 13 crew was there, the owner of the school would not talk to media on camera or give a statement. Neither would workers.

Investigators said video showed 26-year-old Jamie Smithmyer dragging three toddlers by their arms and forcefully pushing them to the floor. 

“It’s very difficult to watch. I think anyone who watches it would agree that this woman no business working in a daycare facility,” said Kaitlyn Perez, a spokesperson for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. “We were first notified on Tuesday of this week that kind of a good Samaritan, a parent who goes to this daycare noticed some behavior through a closed-circuit television.”

Deputies said the children did not suffer major injuries. Smithmyer was immediately fired, according to the sheriff's office.

Smithmyer has been charged with three counts of child abuse without great bodily harm.

According to the arrest report, when the day care director confronted her about it, Smithmyer said she knew what she did was wrong and did it because she was stressed and overwhelmed.

She is being held without bond at the Sarasota County jail.

“There’s an important message here for parents about really vetting your daycare facility and vetting the people that work there,” said Perez.