A Texas daycare is under fire from parents as well as authorities after allegations surfaced that one of the day care employees duct-taped two children to their slumber mats. And if the allegations -- which sound more like an edgy Jeff Foxworthy joke ("If you duct tape your kids to a mat to get them to sleep at nap time, you might be a redneck.") than an actual occurrence -- weren't bad enough, there is also a photo posted to Facebook of one of the kids thus restrained.
Texas Monthly reported June 23 that a co-owner of Heart2Heart Daycare in Willow Park, Texas (a city nearly two dozen miles from Fort Worth), admitted that she had confessed to parents that she had become so frustrated with a couple of the children under her care who refused to remain still during nap time she actually duct-taped them to their sleeping mats. Pam Decker of the Heart2Heart Montessori Academy took responsibility for the incident, making phone calls to parents to explain her actions.
But that might never have happened had not a staffer taken a photo of one of the kids duct-taped to his mat. That staffer has since quit her job at the daycare facility, according to Fox News Insider.
According to Reuters, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services began investigating after photos of a child in a blanket and bound to his slumber mat with duct tape began circulating among parents of the Texas school.
Ashlea Pena, another co-owner of the Heart2Heart daycare facility said that they are cooperating with authorities. ABC News reported that the daycare also emailed the parents of all the children to inform them of the incident, which she called "thoughtless" and "foolish." However, she said in the email that that the situation had been “extremely exaggerated by a very upset parent" and that “the child involved was in no way harmed or caused any distress, in fact within 5 minutes he was sound asleep with his arms tucked under his chin. And woke up smiling.”
Lorrie Almquist, a parent of one of the kids that was duct-taped, has withdrawn her child from the school. She said she felt "violated" when she found out what had happened. As for Pena's email to parents, she scoffed, "I think that’s ridiculous." She went on: "Ashlea Pena has a daughter that’s less than a year old and I know she would feel the same way if this happened to her daughter.”
Almquist and the mother of the photographed child, whose face was not shown in the photo, both reported the duct-taping incident to authorities.
Willow Park police say they will also open an investigation into the matter after the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services concludes its investigation.