A Montessori school and daycare in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania has been ordered by the state to close its doors following the death of a five-month-old infant on January 5th.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services immediately launched an investigation into the Wyndmoor Montessori School that uncovered multiple safety violations. In the document ordering the school to close its doors, the Department of Human Services stated that they found “gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct in operating a facility likely to constitute immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the children in care.” The report included mentions of safety violations such as leaving the children unattended in high chairs for 30 minutes and more mundane violations such as chipping paint.
Because results of the girl’s autopsy may not be available for as many as two months, the cause of death has yet to be determined. Investigators revealed that a staff member was seen on the school’s surveillance video placing a sheet over the girl’s face, then, later, attempting to hide the sheet when the paramedics arrived. The staff member was later made to give the sheet to police.
The parents of the infant were not immediately notified when their daughter was taken to the hospital, as Wyndmoor staff had to search for emergency contact information. Investigators also noticed that the school did not keep an individual file on record for the girl who died.
When interviewed by CBS news, parent Angela Curtis, whose three children have attended Wyndmoor for two years, stated that she “…would never expect anything like this to happen.”
According to the Department of Human Services, the Wyndmoor Montessori School had been meeting the state’s highest standards, ranked by qualifiers such as staffers’ levels of education.
“I’m terrified to put my kids in another school and depend on the information I received from the DPW,” Curtis told CBS, “If the state is supposed to be out doing inspections every six months they should have noticed some of these violations.”
The investigation into the Wyndmoor Montessori School is ongoing.