Amanda Beebe rushed to the day care center where she left her 18-month-old son and became hysterical when she saw that her boy’s body was covered with more than a dozen bite marks. His face, limbs and back were swollen and raw.
Who bit her boy? Where were the adults? How could this happen at a day care? She wanted to know.
“It looked like he’d been mauled by an animal,” Beebe said on Wednesday. But the doctor at the hospital told Beebe that by the look of the marks, her son had been bitten by another child.
Now, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and child welfare authorities are investigating the J’s Bright Learners center in Bradenton, the place where her son was bitten.
Beebe said she had recently put her two children, the 18-month-old and his 4-year-old brother, into the day care so she could continue her education in alternative medicine. She said was paying $40 a week which was all she could afford and then paid the rest with a government voucher.
She said the Daycare center called her on Aug. 26, and a day care worker told her and her husband that their younger boy had been bitten once.
“We weren’t upset — that happens with children,” said Beebe thinking that the workers will keep a better eye on her kids so she doesn’t get bitten again.
However on Aug. 29th, she got another call. This time, the employee said “it’s bad, it’s really bad,” she recalled. She hung up and rushed to the center, where her son was covered with bites and was screaming in pain.
“As a mom, you don’t ever know what you’re going to do in a situation. The anger didn’t set in until later,” she said. “This is my son; he’s been hurt. As a mom you feel like this was your fault.”
She rushed him to a hospital, where doctors called authorities.
According to the Bradenton Herald, Florida’s Department of Children and Families has issued violations to J’s Bright Learners six times after its last 12 inspections, for leaving children unsupervised or failing to have enough staff to care for the number of children.
“I just want everyone to know this is not OK. I want justice,” said Beebe, who published pictures of her boy’s injuries on Facebook in a post that generated some 47,000 comments in a week.
She said she doesn’t blame the other child, rather she blames the adults. She chose this day care because it was one of the few she could afford, and it had cameras. They allowed her to watch a recording, but because of the angle, she couldn’t see her son being bitten, only that there appeared to be no adult in the room for about 20 minutes as her son came into view, crying.
Her son received antibiotics and is getting better, she said.
“I’m just grateful it’s not worse,” she said.” I’m trying to look at the bright side.”
10 days after the incident, a worker at the Daycare center, Caci Reese, who was in charge of the kids that day was arrested. Reese said she put the kids to sleep and checked on them every 20 minutes. However, the kids were in that room together for 2.5 hours before Bebee’s son started screaming in pain.
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