Mothers, what would you do if you picked up your child from daycare — the daycare that you trust to take care of your precious child — and you discovered that the daycare has been strapping your child down to cots with duct-tape during nap time?
Kristi and Brad Galbraith allege in a lawsuit filed in Parker County that Heart2Heart was negligent in properly carrying out its responsibilities and supervising employees, resulting in injury and pain to their 21/2-year-old son.
At a daycare in Texas, that’s exactly what’s been going down and now parents are furious.
The allegations surfaced June 17 after an employee, Hannah Tidwell, called Kristi Galbraith advising her that her son and another boy had been forcefully secured by duct tape to their napping mats by one of the facility’s owners, Pamela Decker.
“When she contacted me, the first thing she said was, ‘I wanted you to know we called CPS today.’ Of course, I felt sick to my stomach, probably wailed out loud in the car,” Kristi Galbraith said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I asked her ‘What do you mean? What happened?’ Then she proceeded to tell me what actually happened to our son that day.”
Tidwell then sent Kristi Galbraith three photographs that she’d snapped of the boy, secured to the mat with the thick, silver tape.
She told the Galbraiths that when she confronted Decker about her actions, Decker responded: “Do not say anything about this. I know this [is] illegal but felt it was necessary.”
The allegations sparked investigations by the state’s Child Care Licensing and Willow Park police. Both investigations remained open as of Tuesday, officials said.
“We have interviewed all the parents involved. We have begun interviewing some of the employees and former employees,” said Willow Police Chief Brad Johnson said. “We hope to wrap this up in the next couple of weeks and present it to the district attorney’s office. It probably will be presented to the grand jury without any arrest on our end. That’s the plan as it stands today.”
Heart2Heart remains open.
The lawsuit names Heart2Heart, its management company, Decker, and Decker’s daughter, Ashlea J. Pena, who is co-owner of the facility. The suit seeks between $200,000 and $1 million in monetary relief.