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Lawsuit: Kids duct taped at daycare, water withheld to minimize diaper changes

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On Aug. 26, the parents of a two-year-old toddler filed a lawsuit against their child’s daycare, Heart2Heart Montessori Academy in Willow Park, Texas, for allegedly duct taping their son and another toddler to their nap mats in an effort to keep the children restrained during their nap times. Additional allegations brought forth in the lawsuit claim that the daycare providers “withheld water from other children” in an effort to reduce diaper changes.”

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The suit also claims that another child was left alone in a room for an extended period of time, according to NBC News. Kristi Galbraith, the mom of one of the boys allegedly duct taped to his nap mat, has brought forth that lawsuit against Heart2Heart Montessori Academy along with her husband, Brad Galbraith. The mother of the other duct taped child is currently meeting with her lawyer to review her legal options.

One of the teachers at the daycare outraged by the duct taping practice took pictures of the kids taped to their maps in June and shared the photos with the parents of the children. That teacher, Hannah Tidwell, placed the blame for the duct taping on the Heart2Heart Montessori Academy’s co-owner, Pamela Decker.

Local police and Child Protective Services are both conducting investigations into the allegations. Meanwhile, Heart2Heart is still open and in operation – but with a reduced number of kids due to parents changing daycare providers.

"I feel like this should never happen to any child," said Kristi Galbraith.

"I was angry. I was shocked. I felt an extreme amount of guilt about how I could have chosen a place that would do this to my child," she said.

The Galbraiths’ lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Parker County, claims that “Heart2Heart was negligent in properly carrying out its responsibilities and supervising employees, resulting in injury and pain to their 2 1/2-year-old son,” according to The Star Telegram.

Named in the suit are Heart2Heart, its management company, Heart2 Heart co-owner Pamela Decker, and Ashlea J. Pena – who is Decker’s’ daughter and the other co-owner of Heart2 Heart. The Galbraiths are seeking “between $200,000 and $1 million in monetary relief.”

After Tildwell sent the pictures of Galbraith’s son duct taped at school, the teacher also spoke directly to the Galbraiths. Tildwell said that when she confronted Decker about duct taping the kids at school, Decker reportedly said: “Do not say anything about this. I know this [is] illegal but felt it was necessary.”

Tidwell said she had witnessed other “abusive behavior” at the facility, including the locking of a child in a room alone for an extended time, withholding water from children, and limiting the children to two water breaks per day so the staff did not need to change as many diapers, according to the lawsuit.

She told the Galbraiths that in addition to contacting them, she had quit her job and notified Child Protective Services.

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