When Jessica Hayes arrived to collect her daughter from daycare, she was absolutely horrified to see what staff appeared to have done to her child. Because of their alleged actions, the little child’s feet had been left bruised and swollen. And as a result, Hayes decided to speak out.
Hayes lives in North Carolina with her young daughter. As a single mother without many family members nearby, she sometimes relies on daycare to look after her baby. So, she must have been happy to find a center that she could trust.
That place was Pleasant Hill Day Care in Elkin, NC. On Facebook, the childcare service has a 4.8 rating and boasts many glowing reviews from satisfied parents. As far as we know, Hayes was among those happy customers, until one alleged incident that apparently took place in May 2018.
It all began when Hayes arrived at the daycare center to collect her 17-month-old daughter and found tape around her child’s feet. To her, it appeared that someone had used the strips to keep her daughter’s shoes on. So, naturally, Hayes was concerned.
And that concern escalated to outright anger when she removed the tape to find that her daughter’s feet were bruised and swollen. Unsure if she was overreacting, Hayes later posted two images of her child’s feet – before and after her mom removed the tape – on Facebook.
In the images, her child’s feet can be seen wrapped in layers of tape. As well as binding the youngster’s pink shoes to her foot, the tape is also wrapped tightly around her ankle on one side. Next to the photographs, Hayes asked, “Does anyone see an issue with this? And am I the only one?”
And it seemed that Hayes was not the only person to be distressed by what the images showed. In the comments below the picture, somebody wrote, “I work in childcare and this is nowhere near okay! Report this, and do not let it go! This sickens me!”
Worryingly, after posting the images of her daughter, another woman came forward to say the same thing had happened to her child at the daycare center on the very same day. Nonetheless, she was confident that management would resolve the issue.
Writing on Facebook, Megan Howlett Cheek stated, “I will say the way Pleasant Hill Day Care handled it was appropriate and urgent. They are just upset as the parents and devastated that this happened. I am confident that is the last issue we will ever have with him.”
In a follow-up post, Hayes suggested that someone at the daycare center had taped the shoes to her daughter’s feet to prevent her daughter from removing them. She wrote, “I am upset that this happened to my child.”
A concerned Hayes then speculated, “Someone was clearly upset that she was learning take her shoes off and done it out of being aggravated. This was also not just her shoes being taped up it was around her ankle.”
Describing what had happened when she’d found her daughter’s feet tied up, Hayes added, “I appropriately reacted and went straight to the director who was just as speechless as I was. I then went to take the tape off and my daughter was crying as this was obviously uncomfortable to her.”
Hayes also claimed that two members of staff were sacked from the daycare center in response to her complaints. “I proceeded to call and speak with the director to inform this has left marks on my child. Pleasant Hill Day Care as well took appropriate action and dismissed the two employees involved,” she wrote.
According to Hayes, the members of staff were identified after she and the nursery director viewed some video footage, seemingly captured by a security camera, of the incident taking place. And understandably, the whole experience affected Hayes deeply.
Following her complaint, Hayes said that her trust had been broken by the two individuals who were allegedly responsible for the incident that had been caught on tape. She added that they had looked after her daughter since she was less than two months old.
In the end, however, Hayes decided not to remove her daughter from Pleasant Hill Day Care. In fact, she stated that her daughter had returned to daycare the following morning and attended the center for the rest of the week.
Speaking to WXII in May 2018, Hayes revealed, “I sent my daughter to Pleasant Hill Day Care as I went there as a child and so did her father. This place helped raise both of us and most of the people are still there today.”
She added, “My daughter will continue to go to Pleasant Hill Day Care as 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.”
Maehsell Marley is director at Pleasant Hill Day Care, and according to Hayes she was “speechless” when listening to the mom’s allegations. Marley subsequently told WXII, “Pleasant Hill Day Care in no way condones or allows any practice that would be harmful to a child.”
She added, “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. What occurred in the shoe-taping incident is not a representation of who we are.”