LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas teacher is accused of child abuse after several alleged incidents including “body-slamming” a toddler into a cot, according to an arrest report.

Eryka Westover, who is also referenced as Eryka Slizeski, 33, was arrested on May 17 on charges of child abuse, records showed. Westover was a lead teacher at Shenker Academy.

Eryka Westover, 33, was arrested on charges of felony child abuse or neglect. (LVMPD)
Eryka Westover, 33, was arrested on charges of felony child abuse or neglect. (LVMPD)

On April 1, a mother walked into LVMPD’s Summerlin Area Command with her daughter to report abuse by her teacher, Westover, after the class assistants told her that Westover “body-slammed” her daughter during naptime. The assistants provided the mother with a video of the incident.

The report said the video, taken on Feb. 5, showed the child swaddled and Westover angry at her. Westover becomes so frustrated to the point that she allegedly body-slammed her into the sleeping cot. The report notes that the video does not show the body slam because the camera falls but once it picks back up, Westover is heard saying, “Yes, I just body slammed you, you’re fine. Go to bed.”

Westover would use different ways to restrain the toddler including picking her up and not letting her down, sitting beside her to keep her from getting up, and swaddling. Westover swaddled the child so tightly that she couldn’t move her extremities because the child was difficult to put to sleep, police said.

Swaddling was not an approved technique at the school and Shenker Academy was very strict about interactions with children and used the “Love and Logic” approach when children acted out, the report said.

The assistants also told the mother that Westover has been “slapping, hitting, and pinching children,” including her daughter, according to the report.

The mother told police that her daughter had been enrolled at the school for about two years and was speech delayed. During the first two years at the school, the mother had no issues, but in August 2023, her daughter was moved to Westover’s class with the 3-year-olds.

The transition was hard for her daughter due to her speech delay. The mother notices changes in her daughter including having a difficult time dropping her off at school and her saying things like, “Don’t touch me,” “Don’t hit me,” and “Leave me alone.” Her daughter also told her that Westover pinches her for being a bad listener, the report said.

The assistants said they noticed Westover being rough with the children and started to get complaints from the children that she was slapping and pinching them. One of the assistants told police that she had been Westover’s assistant for three years, however, this year some of the kids were more difficult and she noticed Westover would target these students, according to the report.

In one instance, the children were outside for “Water play,” and one of the children did not like being sprayed with the water. At one point in the day, Westover took control of the water hose and sprayed the child, causing him to fall to the ground and start crying. Westover also allegedly would specifically throw and kick balls at the child and when he would fall or get hurt she would say, “That’s what you get,” or “He deserved it.,” police said.

Westover would also forcefully pull children to the ground when asked to sit and when they acted out she would scream in their faces to get them to stop, the report said.

The issues were reported to the school director, however, the report said he did not take them seriously and eventually had a meeting where he said he did not think Westover did anything wrong.

The report said multiple parents had meetings with the school director regarding the video, however, he continued to “disregard the situation and defend Eryka.”

Several parents wrote a letter addressing the concerns and the director’s lack of concern to the school board. The lengthy letter calls for the termination of Westover and the “immediate suspension and urgent investigation,” of the head of the school.

The letter claims that multiple children would come home saying they were “bad kids” and that Westover scratched and pinched at them. They also said they would have to run laps for being bad, the report said.

One student told their parent, “Mama, Mrs. Eryka scratched me once, she made her hand into a claw and scratched me on the arm,” according to police.

“Three and four-year-old children are singled out and forced to run laps for exhibiting completely age-appropriate behavior, such as difficulty sitting still. You might ask why more of these incidents aren’t on record with the school; the answer is we initially believed the children when they told us individually that the teacher said, ‘It was an accident.’ However, we are coming to you now to report their mistreatment and a pattern of harmful behavior and negligence of the school and administration against the Flamingos children and who knows how many others,” the letter partially read.

The letter also alleges that the school director was first notified that Westover hit a student in December of 2023. However, Westover remained in the class and the student remained under her care, the report said.

The letter said in a separate video, Westover is heard “gaslighting” a child who said “Please don’t hit me, you gave me a boo boo,” to which Westover responds, “I would never do that… You have a boo boo because you washed your hands so much,” according to the report.

When Westover’s assistants met with the director, they said he told them that they were trying to “rock the boat,” and need to have a cooling down period. Since the meeting, one assistant was placed on leave with pay and the other resigned, police said.

Other videos taken during nap time show a child saying, “Ouchie, Ouchie,” and screaming for her mom while Westover is patting “aggressively.” Westover then tells him she didn’t hit him and that he no longer gets a cupcake, the report said.

Westover told police that prior to the semester she had never had issues with students, however, she felt that this set of kids was the most difficult she’s dealt with due to them being born during COVID.

When asked about the video of her “body-slamming” the toddler, she said she was frustrated and her tone of voice was “not the best.” She claimed she didn’t remember saying “Yes, I body-slammed you,” however she felt like the student was a good kid and “Didn’t deserve what she did to her,” according to the report.

Westover was later arrested and taken to the Clark County Detention Center.

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