Outrage over a social media post has led to lives changed as two childcare workers have been fired over an incident which allegedly occurred on May 16.
Jessica Hayes, mother of a 17-month-old daughter, posted a series of photos on Facebook of her daughter’s shoes taped on her feet and the resulting injuries.
The two individuals responsible were immediately fired from Pleasant Hill Daycare Center (PHDC), according to daycare officials.
Since the initial Facebook post, another incident has been shared online revealing a second child had its shoes taped the same day; however, it is the impact of the post more than that of the tape that has left the most long-lasting impression.
“Not only was a daycare talked down about, but church-going members of the daycare as well as parents at the daycare felt the need to bully a parent and completely dismiss the fact a child was hurt,” said Hayes when refusing to discuss the situation any further, referring to her Facebook page for a statement.
In the statement, Hayes explained that, although she was distressed by the incident, she felt that the PHDC handled the situation appropriately.
“I have personally spoken with the director and viewed the footage together. [We] both feel the appropriate action was taken. This is all that matters as the parent and director feel appropriate action was taken,” Hayes wrote.
Director Maeshell Marley agreed that the incident was unfortunate but dealt with properly and is over.
“As far as we know it’s been dealt with appropriately and it was dealt with immediately and there should never ever be another occurrence. I have talked to I think everybody I want to talk to about this,” said Marley, who was shocked to have felt the need to take such disciplinary action with the previously stellar employees.
“They were actually wonderful caregivers. I mean that with all my heart. I just think it was a poor decision at the time. There was no malicious intent at all that I can see.”
There was also no malicious intent in making the original post, according to Hayes, who returned her daughter to the center for care the day following the incident and continues to do so.
“I will not be removing this post because it was done to make others aware,” said Hayes, “of not only her daycare but others including in-home daycares, not to keep it silent and only amongst the people who have kids currently enrolled in daycare.”
Although awareness may have been the intent, some of the consequences have been surprising.
“When I continue to drop off and pick up my child at daycare, I would very much so appreciate not getting dirty looks from those of you who disagree with my choices,” said Hayes, “and feel that I condone the ignorant talk that has went on through many peoples shared post with comments.”
“None of the staff has done that,” said Marley. “We love her. We love her child. If she’s being bullied, it is not by us and that would break my heart if that is what is occurring because she is innocent in all of this.”
Several parents have spoken in support of the childcare center even creating the hashtag, #standwithphdc.
“I feel that the situation was a mistake made in poor judgment by teachers trying to simply keep a child’s shoes on, and unfortunately did not think the outcome through thoroughly,” said Hannah Barker, whose son has attended the facility for two years.
Barker approved of the way the situation was handled by PHDC, which included notifying other parents in the facility of the problem, though withholding the names of the offenders.
“The teachers and staff at this facility are the most trustworthy, devoted and respectable people I have met and this facility is far better than others in this area,” said Barker.
Holly Hodge, whose daughter has attended since she was 10-weeks old and is preparing to graduate the prekindergarten program, agreed that the situation was handled appropriately.
“I feel that the daycare acted appropriately in terminating the employees and the child continues to go to PHDC which speaks for their excellent care. I personally have never had any issues with PHDC at all,” said Hodge.
“We have some amazing daycare centers in the area, but PHDC is where I wanted my child to go. They teach them the basics and get them ready for kindergarten. They are like family to the parents and children and have taught my child so much that I couldn’t have taught her at home,” said Hodge.
“They teach them about Jesus and that they are loved and special. From the baby room to pre-k, they have all been excellent.”
“I am positive this won’t happen to another child as it has raise awareness to all,” said Hayes.
According to Capt. Kim Robison of the Elkin Police Department, “a case is being investigated involving Pleasant Hill Daycare. At this time, the nature of the case is still being investigated.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.