Parents Say School Might Have Had Warning Signs

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 11/13/2010 11:14 am Published: 11/12/2010 9:49 pm

Parents at the John Knox Child Development Center say the 19-month-old abuse victim's mother notified the director of the school that something was wrong before the incident that put the toddler in the hospital.

Former John Knox teacher's aide Meredith Howard, 38, is out of jail on bond. The school says she has been fired since her arrest Monday on two counts of child abuse by injury.

Friday another parents at the school, who asked to remain anonymous, said the school had warning signs that something was wrong with the abuse victim. The parent has a daughter the same age in the same class at John Knox.

Tulsa police confirm what the mother's story.

She said the toddler's mother noticed a problem with her daughter at least a week before the incident.

She claims her daughter was acting strangely during diaper changes. Police say the mom alerted the school, but the school director told her it was normal behavior for the child's age.

But, according to investigators, the school began monitoring diaper changes in that classroom. During the week of the monitoring the mother said her child's behavior went back to normal.

Police say the mother reported that just after the monitoring stopped her child was severely injured and needed surgery.

FOX23 tried to talk to the school's director, Stephanie Taylor, to confirm the story, but was told she was gone for the day Friday. An associate pastor at the church referred FOX23 to an attorney.

FOX23 then called attorney Mark Warman, who represents the church, but he declined an on-camera or recorded phone interview. When FOX23 asked if he knew anything about the mother's claims he said he could not comment.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services confirms the John Knox Child Development Center reported the abuse on its state-wide hot line. But police say the school's report did not accurately describe the severity of the child's injuries, and that it wasn't until the child was taken to the hospital that doctors informed D.H.S. of the magnitude of the abuse.

The school has said on its website that it has initiated safety measures in classrooms, including doubling the number of teachers, and is looking into video monitoring systems.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Insider - 10/31/2011 5:16 PM
0 Votes
But I might be completely wrong about KMA66's identity. There is a very good chance it's Scott riding to TL's rescue on his white steed...again.

Insider - 10/31/2011 5:10 PM
0 Votes
You're probably making yourself sick Tina Lehew...oops...I mean KMA66. I know if I were as small minded and petty as you I would be sick of myself. Best of luck anyway...grow up and get over it.

KMA66 - 11/18/2010 8:08 AM
3 Votes
Every part of this story and the ones still surfacing make me positively sick. It's time for people to come forward, which looks like they are starting to do. It's funny how JK wants to point the finger at Kirk, stating "well, if they had done something this would have never happened." Once again, no one ever does anything wrong at JK, particularly the director. And yes, that was said with heavy sarcasm.

foxread - 11/16/2010 6:30 AM
3 Votes
Innocent until proven guilty is the standard that will apply to this demented woman when she goes to trial. I am confident the jury will find sufficient evidence to convict her. But, I can protect my kid based on any evidence I see fit right now. I wouldn't take my kid to this facility no matter what. Couldn't live with myself if anything DID happen after this warning shot (which unfortunately destroyed the lives of one beautiful little baby girl.) From what I can see, things have been poorly managed and this circle-the-wagon mentality is nothing short of disgusting. And the manner in which parents were treated after the fact is reprehensible as well. Anyone who attended last Thursday's parent meeting was sorely mislead. A question regarding the very chain of events described in this article was asked, rather directly. John Knox pointedly denied that the mother of this victim ever voiced concerns or that the classroom in question had ever been under increased surveillance.

Vosto - 11/14/2010 9:01 PM
1 Vote
The story indicates that after the complaint was made the teacher was monitored when the behavior stopped it seems so did the investigation. According to regulations of DHS and the center this is wht is required. Could more monitoring been done, yes and if the issue of the abuse from two years past had been made evident it probably would. Unfortunately, as foxread said, we will never know.

foxread - 11/14/2010 8:45 PM
2 Votes
Unfortunately, we'll never know whether JKCDC would have been warned off by Kirk of the Hills. JKCDC says only that it did its usual "due diligence" when it came to "check"ing references. Kirk of the HIlls is a bit more specific and says no one there was ever contacted at all. I also appreciate the coverage from Fox 23. I'm not sure what is going on with the comments on the other story ("Whistle-Blowing"). But, the thought that administrators would simply circle the wagon to protect themselves from liability or DHS trouble rather than put babies and kids first makes me ill. If a mother of a baby girl comes in to a trained, experienced day care director and says, "I'm noticing a change in my child's reaction to diaper changes and I'm concerned." that director should protect that baby. People who work with kids or in law enforcement know that to be a classic symptom of abuse and should know better than to tell and anxious parent that it's all very normal, as this story indicates. Sure enough, that baby was eventually assaulted and sickly and severely injured. I can't imagine how that day care director lives with that. Meredith Howard did the sick deed, but there are a lot of if onlys here.

Vosto - 11/14/2010 8:21 PM
0 Votes
My thoughts and prayers go out to the child and family. Itis a shame that no chargeswerefiledtwo years ago keeping this teachers record clean for all background checks. And before anyone says that the JKCDC director should have contacted Kirk of the Hills, sheprobably did however by employee rights legslation the only questions allowed to be answered are, "Did this person work for you?" and "How long was this person employed with your company?" As far as investigations go, yes there should be an investigation on both sides, what other signs may have been present and did the parent inform the director when behvaior returned to normal? While I am sure the answer to the latter is yes, the question still needs to be asked.

Jolie - 11/13/2010 6:31 PM
4 Votes
I appreciate the in-depth coverage that FOX 23 is providing on this story. John Knox has tried to present itself as one of the best daycare facilities in the area, doing their best to protect the children under their care. Some of the information reported on FOX appears to dispute that claim. There seems to be some serious problems with management if recent reports to the media are truthful. Have you all read the FOX 23 story from 11/12/10 titled "Former John Knox Teacher Says She Was Fired for Whistle-Blowing" ? If you haven't, you should. Don't forget to read the comments that follow the article, as well.

Fox Rocks - 11/13/2010 3:27 PM
0 Votes
What other daycares are good options for parents who want to remove their children from this daycare? Thanks...

slimjim - 11/13/2010 7:33 AM
2 Votes
This incident demands a thorough and in depth investigation into this director, and this institution.
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