A two-year-old girl was accidentally left alone, locked inside a daycare facility for two hours while staff and the other children were enjoying a picnic. It occurred this past Friday on Auckland’s North Shore.
What’s worse, the child was only discovered to be missing after the toddler’s mom arrived at the picnic. A relative of one of the daycare’s employees and a relative of the mother broke into the facility and found the little girl.
The North Shore Times reported that the Ta Fesilafai Aoga Amata childcare center, the police and the Education Ministry are all investigating what went wrong. The childcare center licensee, Sonny Vagana (yep, you read it right), was making no excuses. Though he pointed out that his staff was taking it quite hard, he was also quick to admit that the scenario was “unacceptable,” and that “it should never have happened.”
An official from the Education Ministry, Bruce Adin, said that the center had “robust procedures in place” to deal with such outings, but that the center would also implement any changes that needed to be made to prevent such a thing from happening again. He added that the center was, generally speaking, a well-run one which offered a good educational program for the children who attended.
According to a government official, the daycare seems to be a good one. A good one which made a horrible, inexcusable error. It’s obvious that what happened is appalling. I shudder to even think about one of my toddlers unsupervised in our own house for two hours, much less a daycare facility. The emotional duress alone is enough to choke me up before I even get to the potential hazards which such a child might inadvertently stumble upon.
So, what should the punishment for such a childcare facility be? Is this grave offense committed by an otherwise upstanding facility enough to warrant closing the center down? I don’t know what the fair thing is in this scenario, but I can promise you this. If it were my child? I wouldn’t rest until the doors were closed. Forever.
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