Day care where child was left inside set to re-open

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There's a new sign outside Discovery Zone Learning Center in Cordova.

WREG also saw a recent post on Indeed for a teacher and bus driver.

The News Channel 3 Investigators have learned its because, as of the first week in May, the day care can re-open.

It's the same day care where last December, workers left a two-year-old boy alone in the facility after shutting down for the evening.

WREG obtained copies of the time cards showing the last workers clocking out after 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

State records showed the child was left alone in the building for at least two hours.

State regulators suspended the day care's license after the incident and a judge upheld that decision shortly afterwards.

DHS told WREG the day care's owner, Amber Riley, would have to go before the Child Care Review Board to appeal that decision and re-open.

That didn't happen.

The parties reached a settlement agreement instead.

Among several requirements:

  • Discovery Zone must pay a $1500 civil penalty
  • For the first six months, hours will be restricted to 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • The day care can't transport kids for a month after re-opening

WREG cameras caught workers at the day care earlier this week, but no sign of Riley.

We later received a call from a man who identified himself as Riley's publicist.

He followed up with an email from Riley which read in part, "Discovery Zone is positive about our reopening, knowing that the same level of care and commitment we have always had to our children's well being is delivered."

Raynne Alston is a former Discovery Zone parent.

"Honestly, I don't think they should be operating at all," she said.

She lives out of state now, but contacted WREG after seeing our coverage.

She talked about an incident where she said she walked into the day care and found her children in a room without a teacher.

Alston said, "I walked in, and all the lights were off. Then I started walking around and I was like, 'where is everybody at?' I went to the classroom that most of the time they are in that classroom, and there were all the kids, all ages in one classroom with the lights off and nobody was in the classroom. Nobody was in there with them, they had all the lights off watching TV."

It's apparently a recurring problem for the day care.

The News Channel 3 Investigators found evaluator's notes from a visit in October, just two months before the incident, that read, "talked about staff not leaving children in classroom alone. Supervision is a must."

Discovery Zone isn't the first day care to open back up after serious violations.

A child died at Alpha Visions in 2010 and it later re-opened.

The same is true for day cares that have had employees arrested and prosecuted, even left kids on vans.

DHS emailed the following statement.

“DHS’ first priority is child safety. The review board’s focus is on the remaining immediate risk. The immediate risk was removed prior to the settlement. The agreed settlement increases the level of safety beyond what is required by law.”

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