WILLIAMSBURG — A waterfront daycare center known for high tuition and top quality service lost a child last week in a park by the school, officials and parents said.
The school, Williamsburg Northside school's infant and toddler center (in a brand new location in the Edge condo building), has temporarily lost its license after losing a student in East River State Park last week, city officials said.
Teachers watching a group in the park failed to correctly count the children before they returned to the school, a local parent said, and when the group returned to the center the child's mother was waiting to pick up her son but he was nowhere to be found. A "random person" then found the child and brought him back to the school, the parent Kseniya Schneider said.
"This is the most expensive daycare center around...and it's supposed to be a good school," said Schneider, whose friend send her kids to Northside and who was seriously thinking of sending her son to the center before the incident. "To me this [incident] means the people who are supposed to care for [the kids] aren't emotionally attached to the babies."
A spokesman for the school said both teachers who had been in charge of the students were immediately fired, and that the center contacted the city's Department of Health about the incident.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our children. We have very clear procedures to prevent this kind of situation and have never had an incident like this in over 13 years of operation," the spokesman said. "We have apologized deeply to the parents. We have also temporarily closed the Infant and Toddler Center to review policies, procedures and teacher training."
The city's Department of Health has suspended the school's license for two weeks and is working with the school to train teachers so a similar mistake does not happen again, officials said.
"We received a report of a lost child at Williamsburg Northside Preschool and, in response, have suspended their operating permit," a spokesman for the agency said. "We are currently working with the program on a plan of corrective action."
Meanwhile some loyal parents of the school said they still had faith that Northside was still a great insitution.
"It's a new building and it was a brand new teacher," said a parent who declined to give her name but said her two children attended Northside for five years. "I think it was teething in its new spot...It's a great school."
And the school spokesman said parents could rest assured this was a one-time mistake.
"We are determined to ensure this can never happen again,” he said.