The director of a Murfreesboro daycare says she has nothing to hide after a scathing report was released by the state.
According to the Department of Human resources, two of her employees at Salem Academy were caught on camera tying children to chairs.
Documents provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS) showed that their employees visited Salem Academy unannounced nearly two weeks ago. They came to investigate a complaint that two employees were tying children to chairs.
The documents show that when a DHS employee looked at security footage, she saw two daycare workers inside the class for 18-30-month-olds. One daycare worker is seen on video using “bed sheets to tie four children in chairs” around lunchtime, while another worker watched.
The children were restrained for about 12 minutes, according to the report.
Three were then released but one child remained tied. Then, the two daycare employees left the child who was tied up partially or totally unsupervised.
“It’s not normal to tie kids in the chairs,” said one parent after we showed him the report. He said that parents were not notified about it.
“That’s not something I’m expecting to hear happening here. If it’s something that’s happening it’s very concerning and as a parent, me personally, I will talk to Ms. Jocelyn.”
Jocelyn Hodge is Salem Academy’s director. She told News 2 over the phone that her employees didn’t mean to hurt the children.
“When the ladies put those little soft sheets around the chair, they thought they were trying to protect the children from falling,” Hodge said. “Instead of asking for a high chair, which we highly trained them to ask for.”
In the complaint to DHS, a person said that the same two employees were also smacking children’s hands, spanking them and pulling on their ears.
The director denied the allegations.
“I have reviewed the tape with our DHS counselor, the program evaluator, there was no finding of that,” she said.
Hodge said both employees at the center of the investigation have been suspended, but not fired. However, DHS has prohibited the women from being at Salem Academy while children are present.
Hodge said she is re-training her staff and DHS has put the daycare on a safety plan.
News 2 looked at the daycare’s violation history. It has received several violations in the past, including leaving children unattended while eating.
You can find more information about daycare facilities in your area by visiting the Tennessee Department of Human Services website. You can search for a daycare by county or using your address.
Each daycare is rated on professional development, developmental learning, and parent/family involvement. A daycare then receives a one to three-star rating; three stars is best.