AUSTIN (KXAN) — A toddler’s parents are furious after they say their day school left their child in a classroom unattended.
State officials with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services confirms there is an ongoing investigation at the Stepping Stone School in south Austin.
The school’s vice president says they have a simple explanation for when they lost sight of the child.
“I said I’m here to get Rowan and then they realized they didn’t know where she was and she was missing,” Eric Jenne, the father of the toddler said of the incident last Tuesday.
“She was in a classroom with the door shut and she shut the door herself and she was just in there hanging out and playing,” Jenne remembers. “We have no information on how long she was alone, we have no information on how she had gotten out of supervision, and those answers, it didn’t seem important to [school officials] to somehow get those answers.”
School officials tell us the students had just come in from recess, and Jenne’s daughter was seen and checked in coming into the building. They say the child was out of sight for only about a minute and was found immediately and unharmed.
“The kids were all settled, they were deep into a lesson at that time, so there’s no way they had only been sitting down and doing that for 60 seconds,” Jenne says.
We checked with the state’s records and there have been several violations in the past about unattended children at this school.
However, the state tells us that out of nearly 3,200 standards evaluated at that school, they have been cited for only 6 deficiencies including:
- One out of 11 caregivers did not know how many children she was responsible for.
- During an investigation it was found that a caregiver failed to account for all of the children assigned to their group which resulted in a child being left on the operation’s transportation vehicle.
- During an investigation it was found that a child was left unattended on a vehicle for approximately 7-10 minutes.
The vice president of the school released a statement saying:
Stepping Stone School believes that we have historically and currently addressed all issues related to safety and supervision. It is our highest priority. We are a trusted organization that has served the Central Texas community for more than 35 years. We take matters seriously and address them immediately.”
The toddler’s parents say they’re just looking for an apology and an assurance nothing like this will ever happen to another child.
“At the end of the day she was safe, but when you run through the possibilities of what could’ve happened with her, [she could have] choked on a toy and if she was in a room choking by herself, [what if there was] a fire, to her climbing up a bookcase and the bookcase toppling over on top of her, nobody would’ve known that that had happened,” Jenne says.
If you’d like to look for your child’s school violations, check out the online state database here.