Local News

Day Care Center Blamed For Leaving Child Behind

Posted July 30, 2002

— Two Pinehurst parents have a warning for other parents after they said day-care teachers left their 4-year-old son behind on a field trip.

Jeff and Anneliese Hess said their son, Tate, is a playful little boy who makes his presence known.

Friday, three adults watching 12 children from the St. Josephs of the Pines Generations Daycare Center did not notice that the energetic little boy was missing from the group.

The Hesses said they were not contacted by the day-care center. They received a call from a police officer, who was contacted by a woman who said she saw Tate wandering alone in the park at least 15 minutes after the day-care bus departed.

"This doesn't happen. You don't leave children in the park. You make sure you have every name, faces and not just numbers," Anneliese Hess said.

"There was a miscalculation on the number of children," said Ken Cormiere, day-care spokesman.

The Hesses said that miscalulation may have happened when another parent dropped her child off at the park, bringing the total to 13 children. That information apparently was not passed on to the teachers, who were still working off a headcount of 12.

"It was an unfortunate mistake and we certainly apologize for the mistake. We're taking steps to make sure this doesn't occur again," Cormerie said.

Cormiere said an internal investigation is under way and the appropriate state agency has been contacted. He would not comment, but WRAL learned that the teachers involved have been fired.

Pinehurst police said no charges will be filed against the center since Tate was not hurt.

The Hesses remind all parents to make sure their young children know all household information, including their parent's names, their address and phone number. It was that information provided by Tate that helped police locate his parents.

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