CRIME

Only On 7: Chesterbrook Academy preschool cook charged in outburst, assault of 3 children, 3 employees in Centreville

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CENTREVILLE, Va. (WJLA) – An employee at a Northern Virginia preschool was arrested Tuesday after a violent, sudden outburst in which she allegedly assaulted three children and three other employees.

Chesterbrook Academy preschool in Centreville, Va. (Photo: Kendall Griggs/WJLA)

Around 1 p.m., Fairfax County Police were called to Chesterbrook Academy Preschool in Centreville, where longtime cook Veronica Bailey had reportedly assaulted three children, two other staff members and the school principal. The 33-year-old Manassas resident was arrested and charged with five counts of assault and battery, and one count of destruction of property. Police did not disclose exactly how Bailey allegedly attacked the children and staff.

On Tuesday, a marketing professional who represents the school sent the following statement to ABC 7 News regarding Bailey’s behavior:

“The safety and wellbeing of our children is our highest priority. Yesterday, an occurrence took place when a cook and longtime employee had a sudden outburst of uncontrolled behavior. The school principal and other teachers quickly followed emergency procedures including immediately calling law enforcement, who promptly responded. The employee is no longer with Chesterbrook Academy and we are grateful that no one was seriously injured.”

While the victims were injured, police said no one was transported to the hospital.

A school representative said parents were notified of the incident via email, and that the principal was on site Tuesday to answer any questions parents may have had.

“I would be livid, as a parent, going in dealing with something like that,” said Mimi Healy, of Centreville. “I wouldn’t even know what to do if my son had to deal with that.”

It was the children for whom area residents said they were most concerned.

“It is heartbreaking, because it is traumatic for the kids and staff,” said Centreville parent Ruth Marotto.

Centreville resident Som Phattacharya said, “They will have this the rest of their lives; they will remember this.”

Healy concluded, “It affects them not just now, but also when they get older if they see things like that.”

Several parents told ABC 7 News they are standing by Chesterbrook Academy, saying they feel their children are safe at the preschool.

“I know who it was—she actually had my kids in her room—she was a real nice person,” parent Rick Flagg said of Bailey.

As of Tuesday morning, Bailey was still locked up at Fairfax County’s Adult Detention Center. Police say she will undergo a mental health evaluation.

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