Two children were found playing unattended outside the front of the Child Development Center (CDC) by a campus maintenance worker on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
The children escaped while they were in the playground, which has an open area that leads back into the lobby and out the front doors. They exited the playground and walked through the front doors of the building where they were found by campus gardener Humphrey Beem, according to a letter sent by the CDC to parents outlining the incident.
Beem found the children playing outside the doors and promptly returned the children to the center and into the hands of staff.
The CDC was cited by the California Department of Social Services with a Type A violation for lack of supervision . The civil penalty for this violation would be $150, but Pierce College’s fine was waived due to it being a public entity, according to the posted documents regarding the violation.
The licensing report that came along with the violation must be posted at the CDC for the next year.
Phyllis Schneider, Director of the CDC, described the issue as multi-faceted in origin.
“Teacher supervision needs to be improved,” Schneider said. “It’s a two-fold solution – monitoring kids and correcting adults.”
Proposed solutions include erecting a proper barrier that would be accessible by adults, posting a cadet at the front doors to monitor comings and goings, changing parent behavior, and instructor training.
“Our concern for a couple of years has been access by the public,” Schneider said. “And even more now that children can go out.”
Teachers have gone through a class to reinforce their supervisory abilities. Miyuki Yatsuya-Dix, one of the instructors in the CDC, says they will be much more careful.
“We’ll be one hundred percent supervising the children,” Yatsuya-Dix said. “We had high expectations, and they fell.”
Parents are also expected to reinforce the idea of when it’s okay to go places, and how to understand when they shouldn’t. Parents were immediately notified of the issue when the children were found, according to Schneider.
“All the parents were notified of this,” Schneider said. “It’s public information, no secrets.”
Dean of Student Services David Follosco is involved in finding and putting solutions into effect.
“We are concerned,” Follosco said. “We’re looking at every sort of thing we can do and what’s the best solution for the situation.”
There are worries about prohibitory costs with posting cadets, or possible fire hazards with a childproof gate. Possible solutions are to be look at and explored for the issue in terms of what is best for safety and cost for staff, students and the school.
“Our concern is for the safety of everyone,” Follosco said.