A Bakersfield preschool is taking heat for leaving a two-year-old outside on the playground in triple-digit weather.
Small Wonders at Valley Baptist Church says it was all an accident, and the boy is uninjured. However, the toddler’s mother, Gillian Lloyd, was “livid” when she found out.
“It’s a good reminder that in this heat, keep our eyes on our kids. Know that they don’t regulate body temperature the same that we do,” said Tom Corson, the executive director of Kern County Network for Children.
The incident occurred on a Friday, but Lloyd says she wasn’t told until the following week.
According to Lloyd, teachers failed to conduct a headcount per protocol when coming in from recess. A church maintenance worker eventually discovered the boy. She’s shocked the teachers didn’t notice her son missing, since each instructor was responsible for only six kids.
“If children have threats to their security at a young age, it can cause long-lasting problems with anxiety,” said Dr. Corey Gonzalez, a licensed clinical psychologist in Bakersfield.
Small Wonders immediately fired the two faculty members responsible.
They also filed a mandatory report with the state, which the California Department of Social Services (DSS) confirmed receiving. Small Wonders’ profile on the DSS website says they’ve received a prior citation, described as an ‘immediate health or safety impact.’
“Hopefully the preschool is putting into place some additional protocol to make sure they always have a head count, especially in these extreme heat conditions,” Corson said.
Lloyd has since transferred her son to another school, but she believes Small Wonders took the proper steps to document their mistake.
David Kalahar, the director for media at Valley Baptist Church, responded to the incident, calling it ‘unacceptable’ and saying the school does not tolerate negligence.