On March 8, a colleague working at the Kiddie Academy Childcare in Morgan Hill, CA observed Deborah Gratz putting the medicine into some of the 10 toddler cups, prior to the children’s arrival. While the director fired Gratz on Friday, it was Monday before the police were called. Gratz—a veteran 20 year teacher, with 5 of those years being at the Academy—was supposedly ‘helping’ the children sleep.
The Kiddie Academy won an award in 2011 for “exceptionally qualified teachers” and is a private child care center with 80 children enrolled. This childcare center is part of the Kiddie Academy franchise chain of programs in the United States. Many of them have video cameras with web cam available, but we know that cameras cannot possibly capture all of the room and interactions. Also, someone must be available to monitor the ‘stream’ from the cameras.
So, who is responsible? Certainly, if Ms. Gatz committed this crime, she is. Also responsible are the other teachers and administrators who worked with Ms. Gatz—they should have observed her frustration with this age group. Ms. Gatz’s behavior or attitude might have sent signals to parents and families. In the end, it takes a vigilant group of people to assure children’s safety.
Luckily, we do not often have such tragedies in childcare. I write this message only to remind you to be observant, do not assume ‘all is well’. Drop in at the center at unexpected times, observe your child’s teacher and classroom. Quality programs, administrators, and teachers welcome your involvement!!!!!!