The ETSU Child Study Center is located at 2101 Signal Road and N Greenwood Drive. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story did not mention the fact that anyone can utilize the services of the Child Study Center.
The East Tennessee State University Child Study Center has been put on probation following two incidents where children were left unattended for about a minute.
The incidents happened over the summer, on June 25 and Aug. 29. This is the first time the facility,
which is open to anyone in the community, including members of the general public and students, staff and faculty at the university, has been placed on probation, according to university spokesman Joe Smith. The probation order comes from the Department of Human Services.
Both times the lapses in supervision, as these occurrences are called, were self-reported to DHS as required by law, according to university spokesman Joe Smith.
The probation period is 60 days and will likely involve more frequent than usual DHS visits. Should no more violations occur, the facility will be removed from probation.
“We take these issues very seriously,” Smith said. “We will review these incidents very carefully.”• See the DHS letter regarding the disciplinary action.
There are 125 children between the ages of 3 months and 5 years who attend the Child Study Center.
According to the probation notice, which was delivered Tuesday to Beverly Wiginton, director of the Child Studies Center and Little Bucs programs, the June 25 incident happened around 5 p.m. and involved a 3-year-old child left unsupervised on the playground for approximately one minute.
The next lapse of supervision happened around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 29. A teacher, who was not identified, who took a group of children from the playground back inside and noticed that one child was missing. The 34-month-old child was soon discovered standing at the back door, crying.
Parents were notified of the probation status Tuesday. Parents with additional concerns have had conversations with the school, Smith said.
According to the notice, children six weeks of age through 9 years must be within hearing distance of a supervisor at all times and must also be visible at a quick glance. The supervisor must also be able to immediately respond physically to any child.
Smith said these incidents are unfortunate but the university will use them as opportunities to improve supervision and educate caregivers.
Lack of supervision incidents at Little Bucs, a separate child care center operated by ETSU, were reported back in March 2012. At that time, there were six reported lapses of supervision that happened between 2008 and February 2012. The school voluntarily suspended the license after the February incident that year.
A plan of corrected action was submitted to DHS, and the license was reinstated within weeks.The Child Study Center is part of the College of Education.