Author:Steve SchmadekeContact Reporter

The parents of a 3-year-old boy allegedly assaulted by his preschool teacher are suing the Chicago branch of the local day care chain, alleging a pattern of abuse condoned by its owner and staff.

According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, the parents of the child — who filed the suit as John and Jane Doe — enrolled him at the Belmont Avenue branch of Children’s Land in August after staff assured them and the school’s handbook assured them they did not use corporal punishment or even timeouts on their charges under any circumstances.

But within a week, the boy’s mother noticed finger-shaped bruises on her child’s hip. The next two days, her son begged not to be dropped off and then told his mother he’d been slapped on the leg and put in timeout after expressing that he missed his mother, the lawsuit says.

The mother confronted her son’s teacher, Svitlana Dovhopiata, who allegedly told her she had been stressed because she was watching 18 3-year-olds the day before, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that is a violation of state law governing day care centers. In Illinois, the student-to-teacher ratio for children that age is 10 children for every teacher, the suit states. Dovhopiata also is being sued.

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