‘My job is to Take Care of Them’ Says Hero Daycare Worker
People hailed Martha McClure as a hero when photos of the day care provider’s beaten and bloodied face went viral after she stood up to a non-custodial parent who allegedly attacked her when she wouldn’t let him take his children.
“To me, it wasn’t heroic. To me, it’s what I’m supposed to do,” McClure told TODAY Parents. “The children in my care — I am their person. I am their momma bear when their mother isn’t there. Did I know he was going to hurt me? Yes. Did I hope he wouldn’t? Sure. Would I do it over again? Definitely.”
McClure, who lives in Ronan, Montana, says the three children she was protecting that day are in the foster care system and live with a relative. Because she has cared for the kids since the oldest was an infant, she’s always been aware of the possibility of custodial issues disrupting her in-home daycare.
So when the children’s father arrived at her daycare on October 7, behaving aggressively and attempting to remove his kids from her home, McClure says her only priority was luring the man out of her house and locking the door behind them.
Once McClure was outside, she says the children’s father and his girlfriend attacked her, striking her several times in the face with a shovel and hitting her before fleeing the scene.
McClure suffered several broken bones in her face as a result of the attack, and had to have surgery. Today, she still struggles with pain and vision problems, but says that she’s thankful that she was able to keep the children in her care safe and unaware of the danger outside their door.
According to a report in the Missoulian, Francis Jackson, 31, and Tashiana Schlensker, 21, were arrested and charged in the attack. Schlensker has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of assault with a weapon. Jackson faces arraignment this week for charges of felony aggravated burglary and custodial interference.
McClure, who has 5 children of her own ranging in age from 4 to 24, has been a daycare provider for 20 years.