Children’s Center board fails to address parental concerns at Monday meeting

SHERIDAN — Three parents attended Monday’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Children’s Center in order to address the board of trustees about concerns related to the quality of child care provided by the center. Approximately two hours into the meeting, board chair Robert Wyatt opened the floor for public comment, but by that time, one parent had left.

The first parent who stayed to address the board was Tabitha Schultz, a single working mother of three.

“I’m here tonight to stand up for some things I saw when I was here and what happened to me when I left,” Schultz said, launching a narrative of an instance of physical abuse of her child she witnessed by a staff member one morning when she was dropping her children off for the day. Schultz said she was upset by what she saw, but had no choice but to go on with her day.

“If I don’t go to work, I don’t have a job. My kids don’t have a place,” she said.

Schultz told the board she was unsatisfied with the response from Children’s Center Director Peggy Stanton surrounding the incident, and further said she felt Stanton failed to provide support in enforcing a restraining order after her former partner showed up at the day care while she was picking up her children.

Finally, Schultz said her children’s spot at the day care was given away when she took a short break between a job and going back to school. She said she learned she needed other child care arrangements three days before she was going to start college.

“I didn’t appreciate the fact my spot was sold out because I can’t work a job with normal hours and that I don’t make enough money that I qualify for your sliding scale,” Schultz said.

Though Schultz hasn’t used the services of the Children’s Center for several years, she said she came to Monday’s meeting in light of public comments recently made about similar things happening to other parents.

“Maybe now someone will listen what has been going on,” she said. “It’s not just me this happened to.”

The second parent, Jennifer Duran, also addressed the board about the circumstances surrounding her children’s removal from the center in November. Duran was disappointed with Stanton’s response and lack of explanation for removing both of her children from the center without describing any attempts to employ a more appropriate curriculum for her children. She also said she felt her younger child was taken out of the center either as a means of retaliation or as a discriminatory act because the child was nonverbal.

“I may be lacking any kind of criminal case, but in my mind, Peggy’s dictatorship and lack of concern for the children’s wellbeing to employ such a teacher for an extended amount of time certainly constitutes negligence and should be stopped now,” Duran said, later indicating the other parent who left the meeting prior to the opening of the public comment period had intended to address the board about how she had chosen to remove her child from the center after witnessing similarly abusive treatment of her children approximately five years ago.

Duran said she has been approached by a dozen other parents with narratives that demonstrate tolerance for unkind care givers at the center has been an ongoing problem for years.

“A problem still exists here at the center,” Duran said. “Peggy is still allowed to do whatever she wants, however she chooses, frequently described by her employees as ‘on another rampage,” or ‘thinks she’s invincible.’”

Duran said she wouldn’t recommend the center.

The board did not immediately address either parent’s comments at the meeting. During a follow-up call Tuesday morning, Stanton said she appreciated the feedback.

“It was good to hear those things,” Stanton said. “We get better at our job every time we hear things like that and it makes us more aware of being in the parents’ shoes. I think we continue to do a great job of providing an essential service.”

Wyatt could not be reached for follow-up commentary.

About

Tracee Davis

Tracee Davis joined the staff at The Sheridan Press in July of 2013. She covers business, energy and public safety. Tracee grew up in Kemmerer and has lived in several locations both in the U.S. and overseas. Her journalism training stems from her military service.

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