Former teacher arrested, charged with child abuse at Menomonee Falls preschool

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A local 27-year-old preschool teacher in Menomonee Falls was arrested Wednesday on counts of physical abuse of a child.

Madeline J. Ferguson was charged with two felony counts of physical abuse of a child after allegedly abusing at least two children under her care last week.

CBS 58 spoke to the father of a 3-year-old who said his son was violently attacked.

"I'll never be able to look at a day care or child care the same way ever again," he said.

The father of the alleged victim, who does not want to be identified, said he and his wife received a message last Monday from their son's teacher (Ferguson) asking if the bad scratch on his neck happened at home or at Cadence Academy Menomonee Falls Preschool. Ferguson adding that she placed a gauze patch to stop the bleeding.

An image of the alleged incident shows three scratches on the boy's neck.

The father said he and his wife told school officials the explanations did not add up. According to the complaint, the father said he was told his son "sustained this injury after falling in a garbage can and that staff were not exactly sure how it happened." Ferguson was ultimately suspended on Tuesday and later fired on Wednesday -- but the father said that wasn't enough. He and his wife decided to officially report it to Menomonee Falls police, and they watched the surveillance footage.

"I was horrified, I was immediately destroyed, no father should have to see what I saw," he said.

According to the criminal complaint, police who watched the surveillance video, which contained no audio, said it showed the teacher striking the child on the back of the head with the water bottle, and then she picks the victim up by grabbing him by the neck and pulling him up off the ground. Another child was also identified and described as being dragged across the room by Ferguson.

Police immediately arrested Ferguson that Wednesday.

CBS 58 reached out to Cadence Academy Menomonee Falls Preschool and they issued a statement, saying in part:

“We were recently informed of an incident involving one of our teachers. After reviewing the incident, we’ve determined the teacher's conduct was against our policies and did not align with our values and expectations, and the teacher has been terminated. This was an isolated incident, and we will not tolerate such behaviors in our school. Providing a safe and nurturing environment for every one of our children is our top priority.”

The alleged victim's father said his son no longer goes to the school. Moreover, the family is disappointed with how the school handled the situation.

"They're supposed to be trained child care professionals that are trained to spot and identify and prevent child abuse, and they did nothing," he said. "Multiple people watched the video and did nothing."

The educator faces up to seven years in prison and could be fined up to $20,000.

Ferguson posted bond ($10,000 cash bond) on Monday. She is expected to appear at a preliminary hearing on Oct. 3 at 9:15 a.m. 

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