A mother who left her little boy at a daycare facility thought he’d be safe until she went to pick him up a little early than the usual pick-up time. Much to her dismay, what she witnessed at the daycare center was deeply upsetting.
Every parent wants their children to feel loved, protected, and cherished. Sometimes, parents might leave their kids at childcare centers where trained workers supervise them and help them learn essential skills, like problem-solving and social interaction.
But sadly, there can be exceptions where a parent’s worst nightmare might be realized when they discover that the person they trusted with their child’s safety ended up being the one to jeopardize it. Today’s story revolves around a similar scenario.
Sydney Zimmerman lived in Phenix City, Alabama, and was a happy mother to a little boy, Slade. Every day, she dropped her child off at a home daycare center in her hometown and picked him up after a few hours.
Back in 2017, the mother recalled leaving early to pick up her son from the daycare facility. However, she said she could have never guessed what awaited her, and had she not arrived before the usual pick-up time, she would have never found out anything.
A PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE
So, what exactly did Zimmerman discover when she went to pick up little Slade from the daycare? To her horror, her sweet boy was trapped in a closet without any air conditioning, strapped to a car seat that didn’t even belong to him. She added:
“He [Slade] could have overheated and died.”
The livid mother described that her son was in such a terrible condition that he could have easily put something on his head and suffocated inside the closet with no ventilation. She said she was shocked and furious at the daycare workers for mistreating her son.
FOLLOWING HER GUT FEELING
Moreover, the Alabama resident explained that, had she not followed her gut feeling to pick up her son early, she would have never uncovered the cruelty he was subjected to at the hands of the daycare staff. Zimmerman recalled:
“I followed her [daycare worker] in and then she goes to the closet, opens the closet door, turns the light on and my son is sitting there strapped in a car seat that is not his and the first thing he says when he sees me is ‘mama.’”
THE WORKER’S EXPLANATION
The furious mother immediately rescued her son and called the police. But before the officers arrived on the scene, Zimmerman said the daycare worker tried to justify her reportedly cruel action. She recounted:
“She’s all…sometimes he doesn’t want to take a nap. Sometimes he doesn’t this or that.”
Moreover, Zimmerman confessed that she felt it wasn’t the first time her son had been left in such a miserable state. “When I dropped my son off, he’d been crying and getting upset when I left him,” expressed Zimmerman.
IT WASN’T THE FIRST TIME
However, Zimmerman explained she didn’t find out anything earlier because Slade was too small to tell her what he was going through. The aggrieved woman said she couldn’t get the picture of her teary-eyed, red-faced boy trapped inside a closet out of her head.
However, Zimmerman expressed she wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and planned to take the case further.
After the heartbroken mom’s complaint, police launched an investigation and discovered that the daycare was operating without a license. Zimmerman said she planned to press charges against the responsible workers for child endangerment, child neglect, and running a business without a license.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones mentioned that the observations were concerning and lined up with endangering a child’s well-being. He further added:
“Certainly, placing a 22-month-old, 21-month-old child in car seat in a dark closet, which had a lack of ventilation, that’s of grave concern to us as it should be to anyone.”
Meanwhile, Zimmerman was also relieved that she showed up at the right time and saved her son. “I don’t wish it on anyone,” said Zimmerman. The three daycare workers accused of shutting Slade in a closet appeared in court, and two of them, Cynthia Duman and Jennifer Parette, were acquitted.
Mary Parette was found guilty, charged with one count of child endangerment, and fined $100. However, Zimmerman expressed she wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and planned to take the case further.
What are your thoughts on this story? Do you think the way the responsible workers were punished was appropriate as they endangered a baby’s life? What would you do if you were in the mother’s place?