Caring for children isn’t for everyone. Some people recognize this, and opt not to become parents, or teachers, or to take jobs at daycare centers. Others go on to take those jobs anyways, and get frustrated when kids don’t do what they’re told and then duct-tape them to mats in order to get them to stay still at nap time.
The co-owner of Heart2Heart Daycare in Willow Park—about 22 miles west of Fort Worth—revealed herself to possibly be a member of the latter group last Wednesday, after she admitted to parents that she was responsible for duct-taping two different 3-year-old boys to their sleep mats. According to ABC News:
A Texas day care center is under fire after a staffer allegedly duct-taped two children to their sleeping mats when they would not go to sleep during nap time.
Lorrie Almquist, of Cresson, Texas, said she was shocked when she received a call Wednesday from the owner of Heart2Heart Montessori Academy in Parker County and learned that her 3-year-old son and another boy had been duct taped to their sleeping mats.
Photos of a different boy wrapped in a blanket and bound to his sleeping pad by duct tape around the legs and chest had been circling among concerned parents Tuesday afternoon, Almquist said. The photos, which did not show the boy’s face, had been snapped by an employee at the school who quit her job shortly after, she said.
There are several outrageous components to this story: The fact that the daycare co-owner duct-taped two children to mats and the center’s response to the parent, which was not “I’m terribly sorry, I’m resigning,” but rather that this has all been “extremely exaggerated by a very upset parent,” and “The child involved was in no way harmed or caused any distress, in fact within 5 minutes he was sound asleep with his arms tucked under his chin. And woke up smiling.”
The idea that this is an exaggeration is belied by the fact that there’s a picture depicting a kid wrapped in a blanket, duct-taped to a mat. And while it’s true that no apparent physical harm befell the child in the end, it’s generally a bad idea to physically bind a 3-year-old under most circumstances. (What if there had been a fire?) Anyone can make the mistake of hiring a bad employee, but it’s not exactly reassuring that the daycare’s owner and director would try to avoid responsibility by downplaying what happened.
Still, there are proper authorities to determine what happened, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Child Licensing Division has launched an investigation—after which Willow Park police will perform their own investigation.
This isn’t the first time duct tape and kids have made news. A 2010 incident involving teen parents duct-taping their kids to the wall in Nebraska made international news, and resulted in jail time for both of the parents. On the brighter side, as kids get older, they have the potential to use duct tape creatively—and on their own terms—and high school kids can earn scholarships of up to $10,000 for creative fashion design at the Duct Tape Prom.
Duct tape really can do anything, but it’s best left in the hands of those who can act responsibly with it.