Two daycare workers have lost their jobs after a North Carolina mother says they taped her toddler's shoes to her feet, wrapping the tape around the child's ankle and leaving marks.
Jessica Hayes posted photos of her daughter's shoes covered in tape to Facebook on May 19. Hayes said her 17-month-old daughter attends Pleasant Hill Daycare in Elkin.
"Does anyone see an issue with this? And am I the only one?" Hayes wrote on the post that included the photos.
Hayes said her daughter was crying because the tape was uncomfortable.
"Someone was clearly upset that she was learning take her shoes off and done it out of being aggravated," she wrote. "This was also not just her shoes being taped up it was around her ankle ... My 17-month-old child was unable to say anything ... This was left on long enough and tight enough to leave marks, cause swelling, and bruise."
Hayes said she shared the photos to encourage parents not to keep silent about the treatment of their children at care facilities.
"It was done to make others aware of not only her daycare but others including in-home daycares, not to keep it silent and only amongst the people who have kids currently enrolled in daycare," she wrote.
Hayes said she immediately contacted the daycare director and they reviewed video footage together.
Pleasant Hill director Maehsell Marley told WXII that she was disturbed by the incident.
"Pleasant Hill Day Care in no way condones or allows any practice that would be harmful to a child," Marley said. "We have an outstanding group of caregivers who strive to meet the highest of expectations on a daily basis for the children in our care, and what occurred in the shoe-taping incident is not a representation of who we are."
Pleasant Hill "took appropriate action" and fired the two employees involved, Hayes wrote. A note went out to all parents to alert them that "an incident did occur" but it did not share the specifics, including the identity of the two employees.
Hayes said her daughter will continue to attend the same daycare.
"My daughter went straight back to the daycare the very next day and rest of the week. As I feel comfortable to do so and WILL continue to do so. This being said EVERYONE else should be able to do the same. I am positive this won’t happen to another child as it has raise awareness to all," Hayes wrote.
"I am a single parent with not much family to help me with my child. I trust this daycare to watch her so I can go to work and provide for us. Yes, it does hurt and break trust when you put that trust into two individuals who have been with my daughter since she was 6 weeks old."
It was not immediately clear if the employees would be charged in connection with the incident.