By Cherri Gregg
WYNDMOOR, Pa. (CBS) — State officials shut down a Montgomery County daycare this week after a five-month-old girl died while in the care of school staff. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services immediately launched an investigation that reveals more than a dozen violations.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Severe Storms Expected To Bring Damaging Winds, Flooding And Isolated Tornadoes
Police say the five-month-old baby was rushed to Chestnut Hill hospital on Monday, where she was pronounced dead. The same day, DHS launched an investigation of the Wyndmoor Learning Center also known as the Wyndmoor Montessori School on East Willow Grove Road where the infant girl was enrolled.
“I would never expect anything like that happening at this school,” says Angela Curtis, who learned the school would be closing via text message.
“The kids loved this school, they are heartbroken,” she says. Curtis’ three children, a six-year-old boy and four-year-old twins, have attended Wyndmoor Montessori School for two years. “It’s a great facility, wonderful teachers, staff….it was a major shock.”
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services database, the Wyndmoor Learning Center is a “two star” school, meeting the state’s highest standards. Yet, a January 5th DHS emergency removal order listed numerous findings, including investigators’ review of surveillance video showing a staff member placing a sheet on a child’s face and then trying to conceal it once paramedics arrived.
Spokesperson Kait Gillis said Pennsylvania DHS closed the Wyndmoor Learning Center on Wednesday for “violations that constitute gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct in operating a facility.”READ MORE: Man Wanted In Connection To Fatal Shooting Near Widener University Arrested in Delaware, US Marshals Say
Curtis says she’s concerned.
“I’m terrified to put my kids in another school and depend on the information I received from the DPW,” she says, “if the state is supposed to be out doing inspections every six months they should have noticed some of these violations.”
The violations listed in the DHS emergency removal order ranged from chipping paint to safety violations resulting from staff leaving children unattended.
A woman inside the Wyndmoor Learning Center who appeared to be affiliated with the entity said the school had no comment.
The school’s owner has until February to appeal the DHS order.
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