Jones day care shutdown required by Oct. 1

A Jones County day care will be required to shut down by Oct. 1 after a June incident in which the director sent four school-age children walking home unsupervised along a busy highway to try to avoid sanctions from a state inspector.

Lavern Stubbs, who operated Kids University day care center on Ga. 49, had originally appealed her license revocation, and a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday. But Stacey Moore, public relations director for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, said in an e-mail that Stubbs withdrew her appeal Monday.

Calls to the day care Tuesday were not answered.

Moore said Bright from the Start could not provide the director’s statement, which is part of the investigation, on Tuesday.

According to a Jones County Sheriff’s Office incident report and the state Early Care and Learning investigation, Stubbs tried to hide four children when a state day care inspector arrived because she was keeping more children in the school-age room than her license allowed.

When the inspector found the children, Stubbs repeatedly denied that they were in her care, first sending them walking down the highway, then releasing them to a person who was a stranger to the children and their parents.

According to the state Early Care and Learning investigation, a call to the parents revealed that the children were enrolled at Kids University, and thus Stubbs had been lying to both the inspector and the Jones County sheriff’s deputy who returned them to the center after they were picked up by a motorist.

The same day, Stubbs was charged with four counts of reckless conduct in the incident.

The state investigation found that Stubbs had violated state day care rules by exceeding her license capacity, failing to provide proper supervision, releasing children to someone without parental authorization, and making false statements during an investigation. These were the basis for her license revocation.

In the months since the incident, state Early Care and Learning investigated another complaint against Kids University in July and conducted one monitoring visit in August, according to the agency’s website. The complaint investigation concluded that staff at the center had hit a child on the hand as a form of discipline and handled a child roughly, scratching the child while trying to restrain the child. Corporal punishment is forbidden by state day care rules.

Documents online about the monitoring visit found violations, but none major.

To contact writer S. Heather Duncan, call 744-4225.