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EXCLUSIVE: Minnieland toddler class subjected to months of ‘maltreatment’

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 7:45 am

A classroom of toddlers at Minnieland at the Glen child-care center near Lake Ridge was subjected to “ongoing physical, emotional and psychological maltreatment” for almost six months at the hands of two caregivers – and no one did anything to stop it, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services.

A violation summary released by the department two weeks ago outlines a litany of abusive behaviors from February through August. The children, ages 17 months to 24 months, were “clearly in distress in the classroom and although this distress was observed by several staff,” the summary notes, no one reported the abuse until August.

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  • MexicanStewie posted at 6:53 pm on Tue, Nov 19, 2013.

    MexicanStewie Posts: 17

    "Other incidents listed in the report, gathered through witness statements to social services, include:
    - The two teachers encouraged children to engage in aggressive behavior with each other, telling toddlers to hit and smack one another."

    Dammit, the first rule of Toddler Fight Club is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT TODDLER FIGHT CLUB.

  • PW Resident posted at 1:20 pm on Mon, Nov 18, 2013.

    PW Resident Posts: 27

    So, when are these animals going to be charged? Im also waiting for an official apology by the center's owner's Jackie and Chuck Leopold. Are they still the owners? When my daughter was at the Infant and Toddler center I complained over a little one getting spanked by a woman who looked like she smoked crack on a daily basis. I complained that my baby was coming home filthy. The reality is that Minnieland has hired anyone at $7.50 for years. The turnover is incredibly high. But Minnieland isnt the only one. Video cameras are a joke. I have seen people go beyond the cameras. Anyone that abuses kids should be charged...why aren't these animals charged yet? We as a community deserve to know what beasts we have in our community. I don't want to be served at Burger King by an abuser. Come on...Prince William Police, where are you?

  • nicky posted at 10:56 pm on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    nicky Posts: 1

    First I would like to say I am appalled with what was going on at the Glen(Minnieland). What happen to " if you see something, say something." All of them should be fired including the Director. The two witches responsible for these actions need to be arrested. This age group of infant and toddlers are the most vunerable because they can not speak up and say what is going on. Why did not the parents noticed something was wrong when they drop their children off. Most kids cry when they are not happy with the caregiver. My children were in Minnieland many years ago and they treated them very well because I showed up unannounced at various times to see for my self

  • ast123 posted at 4:06 pm on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    ast123 Posts: 1

    As a parent of a child at this center I will tell you the level of anger, sadness, and frustration is overwhelming. I have chosen to not take my daughter back for several reason. There is another story here, the larger impact on all parents. How many of you took your kids in with a little more hesitation? I want something positive to come from this. If you have a great childcare teacher, please let them know you appreciate them! These two are scum and most childcare workers do amazing work for little pay. Yes, there are many who just show up but I am talking about the ones that go the extra mile to recognize, support, and love our children. God Bless the children and families affected!

  • alma posted at 1:48 pm on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    alma Posts: 4

    I hadn't even thought of that. My kid went there to swim during the summer as well. It would be traumatic for any child to witness an adult do those things to another child.

  • iamru posted at 1:47 pm on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    iamru Posts: 1

    This is beyond words - how could this keep happening and no one did anything - the article stats -some employees told A or B to stop - but they didn't????? What in the world were they thinking - did they try to stop them? did they notify someone in charge at once - or did they continue to watch it happening.? According to the article those who watched were fired, but I would be willing to bet, if others didn't watch they probably knew about it. Everyone who was in the general area should be fired - you hear kids screaming or running like crazy you think that is normal. I don't think so.
    I'm sure there are some fantastic child care givers in this facility, but management and all concerned should take a long hard look - rethink, replan, maybe rethink their goals, missions, or whatever. Maybe the founders of ML, need to scale back on some of their facilities to assume that SAFETY FOR ALL CHILDREN is the number 1 goal and not the $$ at the end of the year.
    I also feel the names of A & B should be let out to the public - we all know they will go someplace else and seek employment - and this will happen some place else.

  • noluv4mommy posted at 11:04 am on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    noluv4mommy Posts: 1

    I used to work at Minnieland. Most of them do have cameras in every room. But those are also the centers you never hear about. The ones with repeat offenses like this one are the ones that really need the cameras.

  • apmend posted at 10:43 am on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    apmend Posts: 1

    What good is VA DSS if they were aware of the initial complaints and let this continue for 6 months? This is awful. Thanks for the good reporting - for working parents, this is really important information. Staff members were eventually fired, but this needs to go up the chain of accountability.

  • mstanley posted at 9:31 am on Fri, Nov 15, 2013.

    mstanley Posts: 1

    My husband and I toured a number of childcare centers in Woodbridge when we were expecting out first child. Minnieland was not one of them. I worked for the VEC at the time and saw way too many unemployment claims being filed by former Minnieland employees. It gave me a really bad feeling that Minnieland had issues with staff quality and staff turnover. After hearing about the sexual abuse that occurred at Minnieland centers (http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/115760/77/Police-Two-Child-Care-Providers-Molested-Four-Children) and other complaints about quality of care, I was very glad to have chosen another center for my kids. Every last person at this Minnieland location needs to be fired, including the center director. These defenseless children were suffering for SIX MONTHS and no one did a thing - this is utter negligence and incompetence and it wouldn't surprise me if a lawsuit came out of this. Staff A and B are sick individuals who find it amusing to torture and abuse children. They, along with everyone else who knew what was going on and failed to protect these kids, need to be arrested and charged, and barred from ever working with children again.

  • bettyzorn posted at 9:38 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    bettyzorn Posts: 1

    I have been in childcare for 38 years, owned and operated 2 childcare centers for 15 years as well as supervised 15 childcare centers as a district manager for a company, with that I just want to share with u that a good center director knows what happens in the center at all times. often center directors r overburden with task form the cor. office they actually do not have time to do their job unless they complete that after hours. so please address ur concerns to the co. if u see the center director over worked / stressed because they r the real problem!

  • PWReader posted at 9:15 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    PWReader Posts: 3

    I hope Staff A and B go to jail and are ruthlessly abused by other inmates. While it's happening, I hope the correctional officers encourage the aggressive behavior toward these women and laugh the whole time. I hope all the parents at the center demand the arrest and prosecution of these animals and I also hope they sue Minnieland. This story is every parents worst nightmare.

  • Via Integrity posted at 8:52 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    Via Integrity Posts: 2

    This is great information most parents do not know. This was a Blog on our website www.viaintegrity.com. The blog was written well before the incident at Minnieland The Glenn, but still very approprate for this new situation. Please see a portion of our blog below:

    7 Reasons You Should Be Scared if You Have a Child in a Virginia Daycare

    You have seen this news story before; “Northern Virginia police recently arrested two men at separate day care facilities for doing the unthinkable”. These men sexually assaulted numerous children while working at a “trusted” daycare. These were not home-based daycare centers; rather they were large schools with multiple franchises in the area. The media reported that both men passed State required background checks. So, what are the requirements placed on Virginia daycare facilities before employees care for your kids? Now is the time to grab a chair and sit down before you read these facts.

    1. Daycare facilities are required to run a criminal background check through the Virginia State Police. The problem is that the Virginia State Police only check a Virginia criminal database. That means the Virginia State Police will not know arrests in other states nor will they be reported back to the daycare facility.

    2. Virginia State Police only report to daycares if an applicant was convicted of a “barrier crime” within Virginia. Barrier crimes are basically felony crimes. Thus, Virginia State Police only report to the daycare if their applicant had been convicted of a felony crime in Virginia. That’s right, Virginia daycare employees can have a serious arrest records in other states and still be eligible to work at the day care you send your child to.

    3. If a daycare applicant was arrested on felony charges in Virginia, but pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, the daycare would not be notified of that applicants background and felony arrest.

    4. An employee can work at a daycare for 30 days before a criminal background check must be completed.

    5. Families from across the country and throughout the world move to Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, thanks to a thriving economy and government jobs. This means potential day care workers have spent considerable time outside of Virginia. If arrested and/or convicted in any other state, your Virginia daycare would not be notified of that employee’s criminal record.

    6. In talking with several daycare operators, they think that the background checks that they are required to do by Virginia law covers all 50 states. Daycare operators have been horrified to learn the truth.

    7. Background checks inherently give a false sense of security (see our blog post “Criminal Record Checks: Why They Do Not Work At Protecting Your Child”). Our Character and Integrity Interviews with daycare applicants revealed that many of the applicants engaged in recent felony behaviors that were not detected by police. The applicants provided shocking admissions ranging from recent drug trafficking, extensive drug use, anger management counseling, viewing child pornography and other felony type behaviors. All these applicants had clean background criminal record checks through the Virginia State Police. Additionally, approximately 75% of those applicants had resided in states other than Virginia.

    This is certainly tough news to absorb, but it is reality. This information is not meant to scare, but to educate. We want parents to be fully informed when making a child care decision. Force day care centers to do more than just a Virginia Felony Conviction Check.

  • ammcgee7 posted at 8:02 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    ammcgee7 Posts: 14

    You get busted with possession of marijuana = your full name, address, etc. posted in the local paper. You abuse defenseless children = not only do we hide your identity by referring to you as Staff A and B but no charges are filed against you?... Something is NOT right with that!

  • DumfriesVA posted at 4:28 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    DumfriesVA Posts: 7


    This is what Minnieland does when they find out that they have predators working for them...they grant interviews with newspapers and then let the parents find out by reading the newspapers. We were greeted with silence from Merit School on orders from Minnieland.

  • MominVA posted at 3:54 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    MominVA Posts: 1

    This is terrifying. How do we know these 2 evil people are not finding employment elsewhere to torture children at their pleasure? The identities need to be released. My older child went to this location over the summer for swimming and was not supervised by the Glen staff, thankfully..but now I wonder if my daughter witnessed this horrifying behavior. This is just sad and sick.[sad]

  • aprilshwrs102377 posted at 3:42 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    aprilshwrs102377 Posts: 3

    THIS IS SICKENING!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHEN are these people going to be ARRESTED & CHARGED?!?!?! HOW can someone witnessing this get charged but NOT THE ACTUAL person committing such disgusting acts?????

  • aprilshwrs102377 posted at 3:27 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    aprilshwrs102377 Posts: 3

    I totally agree mclav!!! I was crying for these babies and I actually cannot even finish reading the VDSS report bc my stomach is just SICK!!! I want to know when they will be arrested & charged!!! I will post this on every tv station page, every politician in PWC, every police department page..wherever I have to post this, I WILL until these two ANIMALS are arrested!!!!

  • aprilshwrs102377 posted at 3:23 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    aprilshwrs102377 Posts: 3

    EXACT same question I want to know!! Also, WHY are these two animals NOT being arrested & charged!!! I am SICK to my stomach over this and my 7 month old doesn't even go there!!!

  • GabbieN posted at 12:08 pm on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    GabbieN Posts: 2

    Most Day Care Centers have cameras EVERYWHERE, parents can remote in and watch what is going on.... How is it a franchise as big as minnieland does not provide this level of security? So disturbing...

  • GabbieN posted at 11:58 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    GabbieN Posts: 2

    What elses needs to happen in this horror day care center before these animals who call themselves care takers are incarcerated and the location permanently shut down?!!!

  • _mslysh posted at 11:46 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    _mslysh Posts: 1

    I hope everyone at that center pulls their children out! There is no telling what has happened and wasn't reported, and what will happen in the future. It is unbelievable that this went on for so long with no reports of it. I hope this center gets shut down! My personal opinion, I have NEVER heard any good things about minnieland, and this topped it all off. I never have & never will put any of my children in the hands of that company, nor will I ever recommend them to anyone!

  • woodbridgekid posted at 11:00 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    woodbridgekid Posts: 1

    Minnieland has been abusing the children in this county for decades. I wish some of the local lawyers would start a massive class action lawsuit against Minnieland.

  • Jvalencia posted at 10:59 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    Jvalencia Posts: 1

    I’m disgusted by all this. It’s funny how on the article it states “The violation summary also is posted in the center” Yeah it’s posted so NO parent can see it. As soon as you walk into the center, look to your left and it’s up so high you need to step on the chair to be able to read it or bring it down. I’m sure it was put there so no parents can see it. I still cannot believe how the administrative staff was not aware of what was going on. I mean this happened in the Monkey’s class (each class is defined by an animal name) the monkey’s class in right across the Directors and the receptions office. How could they not hear the kids cry? why wouldn’t they go and check on them? I know that the administrative staff needs to be looked at too. When you walk into the daycare, it’s more like a hang-out place than a professional business. The director of the center Brandy has a lot of work to do at this center. I have seen so many staff come and go, it’s like every day you see someone new than couple of days later they are gone. That was a big issue for me. My daughter no longer attends the center because of this and also we had an incident ourselves with the administrative staff. I can only say good things about my daughter’s teacher. She is no longer at the center; it’s sad how the center is losing really good staff, Staff that acutely cares for your child. I understand completely why a staff would leave. I wouldn’t want to be working at a place that all this is going on in. It’s sad when a teacher tells you they are leaving because “ this place is falling apart”

  • crecco posted at 10:22 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    crecco Posts: 1

    The inspection dates are August 23rd and Sept 4th. Why are we just now hearing about this and why isn't it being reported on the major news channels? My 3 year old goes to a Minnieland and we LOVE the staff but if the adults aren't going to speak up for the children who can't talk I guess you never really know what happens when you're not there. Shame on them! I certainly will be asking what our Minnieland location is doing to ensure that something like this doesn't happen there.

  • KB posted at 10:02 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    KB Posts: 1

    I am as horrified as everyone reading such a report. And my heart goes out to the parents and kids in the toddler room.

    I do feel compelled to comment on how many wonderful teachers/caregivers are at ML@the Glen too (who did not witness the events or most certainly would have reported them immediately). My kids have been there for years and have had very patient, kind and caring teachers...we thank them every day as we drop off/pick up our smiling kids.

  • jdabugg posted at 10:00 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    jdabugg Posts: 1

    MINNIELAND IS A JOKE!! My son is 5 yrs. old and was with Minnieland since he was 6 weeks. I've recently pulled him from the center after constant issues that were never properly resolved. We started out in Fredericksburg and fell in love with Minnieland, they cared, the teachers were great, pleasant, and made me feel comfortable about leaving my baby with them. After about 1.5 yrs, we moved to Woodbridge and my son went to the Occoquan Center. The director left after about a year of him being there and that's when it all went down hill. The list of issues involve my son being left in the classroom by himself, him being hit and bitten by other children (which is normal of course) but then he was reprimanded for doing it to the kids (hello, where do you think he learned it from?) the teachers yelling at him as if he was grown, the doors being locked after opening time so that I couldn't get him in the building, my son would become emotionally distressed and instead of them trying to help him, they'd leave him in the corner to cry until one of the directors came into the center, (I know the director and she informed me of all the bad things that occurred while she was employed there, she's since left), and my son was put in a room with another child that was bullying my son (after we had already taken the steps to separate them) without my permission or prior knowledge. The bottom line is the owners of Minnieland have a great program, and truly want to ensure a safe, fun, and loving environment, however, the directors that they have hired to make this environment real are horrible, Stacy (the one they mention in this story) is a B*tch, she's rude and has no empathy for parents that have issues, one day it was cold outside and they put my son in the pool, he has asthma and can't be in cold weather, when I called her to ask her about it, she quoted policy to me, I was outside myself when I had the conversation with her and the wind was really strong and cold, I told her that I didn't think it was acceptable to have the kids outside half naked in water when it was this chilly.. I later found out that she was at the center when my son was put back into the water for the second time that day, this was after our conversation, the teacher mentioned to her that I didn't want him in the water and he wasn't brought back inside.. this is a flat out disrespect to someone who has entrusted their child with you, and pays you over $135/week for you to care for them, for as long as I did. The district manager Ms. Thompson, and the regional director Stacy are not managing their centers, and therefore, crap is running down hill, the teachers are over worked, under paid, and do not have the supplies and support they need to take care of your child. They've complained to me about not getting breaks, not having relief time to use the bathroom, and being spoken to unprofessionally. Minnieland invests in their employees with regards to training and has an AMAZING set of classes and certifications that they offer their teachers, but when management is poor, none of that matters. If you dare to use Minnieland as your childcare provider, I strongly recommend you make sure that Stacy is NOT the regional, that district has had problem after problem, even if Stacy doesn't make it, stay away from that district in general. I've contacted Chris the COO mentioned in the story, and although he was helpful and pleasant, my issues were never resolved as their bureaucratic methods of fixing problems doesn't work. [sad]

  • mclav posted at 9:57 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    mclav Posts: 1

    These 2 deserve their names to be released & the pictures posted everywhere. This is so sick it makes me cry. How awful for those poor babies & their parents.

    I can't imagine watching someone do these things to a little baby & simply asking them to stop. I would think nothing of physically stopping this person & those that simply observed should have done the same. Shame on all of these people.

    Are criminal charges pending?

  • Mknox posted at 9:47 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    Mknox Posts: 1

    I am beyond disgusted. As a working parent who relies on childcare for my daughter, I know that leaving your child with someone is hard enough, let alone with abusive caregivers. I hope that the center's director is appropriately dealt with as well. There is absolutely no excuse that the abuse lasted for so long, or even at all. So happy that we didn't choose Minnieland in our search for childcare!

  • MsMulloy posted at 9:43 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    MsMulloy Posts: 1

    Shame on the people who knew about, and witnessed this abuse and did not report it. My heart goes out to these poor babies! I agree that the names of the abusers should be released,they should NEVER be allowed to care for children again. I would certainly hope that if they had any children of their own, that something is being done to protect them!! Once again, this shows that you can never be too careful when leaving your children in someone else's hands. Question EVERYTHING! If you are lucky enough to have a trusted caregiver THANK them!

  • DumfriesVA posted at 9:37 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    DumfriesVA Posts: 7

    What people seem to not realize is that the Glen is ATTACHED to sorporate. If they are unaware of what is going on right next door, I'm extremely worried.

  • NovaLady posted at 9:20 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    NovaLady Posts: 1

    I toured two Minnieland locations and always got a bad vibe. During one tour, I saw a teacher roughly pull a blanket from under a child trying to take a nap. I looked at the Director and she looked appalled and said she'll talk to the teacher.

    Anyways, I can't imagine what the parents must be feeling! And I'm guessing the poor kids probably cried their heads off at drop off time.

  • batgirl posted at 9:17 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    batgirl Posts: 1

    This is disgusting. I hope they are criminal charged -- everything they have done is felony and the former director and the staff who witnessed this cruel behavior should be charged as accessories to the crime. I am so appalled. Their names need to be released! Those poor children - the psychological damage caused will affect them. Wow!

  • sweetsonia99 posted at 9:09 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    sweetsonia99 Posts: 1

    This is so sad and sick. IN stop hiding there awful names put them out there. They are horrible people and need to be treated as such. I pray that these people get put in prison and get abused all up in there just like they did to the poor children.

  • FACEHERE1986 posted at 8:32 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    FACEHERE1986 Posts: 1

    Stop hiding their identity put them out there so they can never be a childcare provider again

  • alma posted at 8:28 am on Thu, Nov 14, 2013.

    alma Posts: 4

    Fury doesn't even begin to describe how I am feeling right now.


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