When a child won’t sleep during naptime, usually you sing the little darling a song or read the tike a book, but one Texas daycare center found that duct taping a restless toddler to their sleeping mat works even better. The Heart2Heart Montessori Academy in Parker County, Texas is under investigation after a daycare worker snapped a picture of a child duct tapped to his sleeping mat for a nap, according to ABC News on June 20.
Lorrie Almquist was mortified to find out her son was one of two children that the staff bound to his bed with duct tape so he wouldn’t get up during nap time. Apparently the owner of Heart2Heart felt that Almquist’s three-year-old son was too restless during nap time.
The mom said that she was aware that her son wasn’t taking a nap as easily as the other kids because the owner of the daycare had been complaining to her about it for weeks. At one point the owner suggested the mom buy a “weighted blanket” for help during nap time.
One of the daycare workers who wasn’t thrilled with the practice of duct taping kids down for a nap took the picture above and quit her job shortly afterwards. The picture circulated among the parents of the daycare kids and Almquist and another parent turned it over to authorities.
The boy in the photo, whose face cannot be seen, is not Almquist’s son, but the owner of the daycare did call to tell Almquist that her son was one of the two children that she had used duct tape on during nap time. The owner of Heart2Heart, Pam Decker, took full responsibility for the incident.
According to The New York Post, Heart2Heart director and Ashlea Pena released a statement indicating that the child-care center is cooperating with authorities. “The staff and I have the best interest of the children and parents as our highest priority,” the statement said.
Decker said there was no harm done, the kids were never in any type of distress. She also said that when the kids fell asleep they woke up smiling. Apparently Decker still didn’t see the error of her ways, making a statement indicating that no harm was done.
The same goes for the director of the daycare, both women seem to feel that restraining a child in this manner is no big deal. As Almquist said, if it was their children being intrusted to a daycare center and they found out their kids were restrained with duct tape, how would they feel? Probably a bit differently than they do today.
That is scary for a kid to go through, being restrained like that could create problems that stay with the child for life. It seems like it could easily plant the seed for the child to suffer from claustrophobia later in life.
Almquist said that she felt “violated” and was “irate” over this incident. Most of all she was so saddened by the thought of her three-year-old son going through something like that.
Since daycare centers don’t fall under the umbrella for the department of child services in the area, it is the Texas Department of Family Protective Services Licensing Division that launched an investigation into the Heart2Heart center.
Agents from the division were out interviewing parents and workers of the daycare center this week. They suspect that the investigation can take up to 30 days. Willow Park Police Chief Brad Johnson said that once the licensing division’s investigation is complete, the police will launch their own investigation regarding the owner, Pamela Decker.