Parents were emotional and outraged Thursday night after an 8-month-old boy left alone in a West Memphis, Arkansas day care center.
The owners of Primary Learning Academy are under arrest for leaving the baby alone in the building after closing.
Alice and Ronald McClure are each charged with one count of endangering a minor.
West Memphis Police tell us the parents dropped the child off at 7:20 a.m. Thursday at Primary Learning Academy on South 16th Street. They returned around 4:15 p.m. Thursday and found the building locked up and the lights out. So, they called police to help get inside.
Police say when they got into the building to find the baby, the air conditioning was shut off and the temperature was already at 80 degrees. Investigators say the baby had been left alone in the building for 30 to 45 minutes with temperatures reaching 80 degrees.
Police Captain Joe Baker spoke on behalf the parents, describing how upset and emotional they were over the course of events.
Baker says the owners admitted the lack of various protocols in their daily operations.
DHS and the State of Arkansas are investigating. In April, the state issued a violation for lack of background checks on at least one employee.
Primary Learning Academy will remain closed until the investigation is complete.
UPDATE: Friday, Arkansas DHS revoked the daycare’s license. Read the letter below.
Dear Ms. McClure:
I have received a recommendation from our staff to revoke your Child Care Center License, number 8535, on an emergency basis. I am in agreement with this recommendation and I am taking action to revoke your license effective immediately, as of this date, Friday, September 7, 2018.
The decision to revoke your license on an emergency basis is based on violation of The Minimum Licensing Requirements for Child Care Centers, Rev. 01/01/2015. This action is being taken due to your failure as Owner and Director of Primary Learning Academy to ensure that children in care at your facility are safe and adequately cared for. Yesterday, Thursday, September 6, 2018, an infant in your care was left unattended in your facility when you left the facility at the end of the day. This action on your part placed the life of a child at risk and violates the following licensing requirements.
Section 201.1 – Organization and Administration – “The owner and/or Board of Directors shall be responsible for operating the facility and shall have final responsibility to ensure that the facility meets licensing requirements. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of Board members shall be provided to the Licensing Specialist.”
Section 301.8 Staff/Child Ratios – “At no time shall children be left unsupervised or unattended. The child care center shall provide additional staff for any temporary absence of primary child caring staff for activities such as breaks, meal preparation, transportation, etc.”
Section 302.1 – “There shall be a director or assistant director/site supervisor who shall be responsible for:
- Administering, planning, managing and controlling the daily activities of the center;
- Ensuring that the facility meets licensing requirements;
- Ensuring the health and safety of children;
- Providing prudent supervision of all staff and volunteers”
This emergency revocation action will prohibit you from being eligible for participation in the Voucher Program, the Special Nutrition Program or from applying for grants or funds available to licensed or registered providers. Any outstanding billing for services covered by these programs must be submitted to the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education according to allowable timelines.
You may appeal this action by requesting an appeal in writing to this office within ten (10) calendar days from your receipt of this notice. If you choose to appeal the revocation of your license, a hearing will be scheduled with the Child Care Appeal Review Panel in Little Rock. You may be represented by an attorney at this hearing and would have an opportunity to present evidence as to why this action should not have been taken. Failure on your part to abide by this action to revoke your license will result in the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education seeking an injunction through the appropriate court of jurisdiction.
If you have any questions concerning this action, please call our attorney, Michael Brechlin, at (501) 320-6304 or me at (501) 682-8590.
David Griffin, Assistant Director
Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education