MARICOPA, Ariz. – Two Phoenix-area parents said a child bit their daughter eight times while at Sunrise Preschools in Maricopa, KGUN reports.
Rocio Enriquez said when her husband, Rylee Umsted, went to pick up their 1-year-old daughter, Mila, from day care, they found the bite marks all over her back.
"She was shaking and I knew she didn't want to be there," Umsted said.
They said it happened about 20 minutes before they picked her up, and said they aren't happy with the day care's explanation.
"She told me there were three children in the classroom, including my daughter," Enriquez said. "A teacher was changing a diaper when another child went on top of her and started biting her."
"One bite mark that you look at, you'd be like, she'd be screaming bloody murder, so I want to know -- if someone heard a scream, where was management?" Enriquez added.
They said they were told the incident happened in about 30 seconds.
"I can't believe it until I see it," Enriquez said.
They said the incident was captured on surveillance video. The parents said Sunrise Preschools isn't letting them look at it.
"We don't know what to think, because we don't know the true answer," Umsted said. "But there's a video out there that tells the truth."
They asked to see the video and called for changes to be made at the facility, so what happened to their child doesn't happen to another.
"Sunrise should've either had two teachers in that room, or they need different training," Umsted said.
Sunrise Preschools issued the following statement:
"We are deeply concerned about the incident that occurred at the Sunrise Preschools Maricopa location. The safety of our children is our number one priority. Sunrise Preschools immediately provided care and assistance to the injured child. We are in contact with parents of both children involved. We are cooperating with the proper authorities and are unable to provide additional details at this time."
Hours later, Dana Vela, the president of Sunrise Preschools, issued another statement saying that the caregiver who was watching the children was suspended without pay pending further investigation:
"We are truly sorry for an incident that occurred at our new center in Maricopa. Sunrise Preschools considers safety of the children in our care job one. It is our first priority. It is why we have been privileged to provide child care for more than three decades. On Thursday April 25th a toddler was bitten multiple times by another toddler during a very short timeframe. This should not have happened. Only four children were under the supervision of the caregiver watching the children. That caregiver has been suspended without pay pending further investigation.
This incident was heartbreaking and unacceptable and we are working diligently to ensure it does not happen again. We are reviewing all policies and procedures and will take whatever steps are needed to prevent this rare but serious matter from repeating itself. A video of the incident confirms the child was injured by another child very quickly and while the caregiver was changing a diaper. This is not meant to excuse the incident but to explain what happened. We can and will do better and this unfortunate matter has provided some hard learned lessons. After the child was injured first aid was administered, and the parents of the injured child were informed. The child who bit the classmate was expelled. While there is established protocol to address occasional biting behavior common to many toddlers, the severity of the incident demanded a more appropriate response.
Sunrise is following internal policies and procedures as well as licensing regulations and employment law requirements throughout the investigative process. But we are also determined to do more. We are reviewing our procedures. We are studying what happened. Additional steps are being evaluated to do everything possible to keep this from happening again. We apologize again and profusely when we fail because the trust you place in us is understood and appreciated which is why Sunrise has the outstanding reputation it has for decades in Arizona.
We are welcoming both questions and input from the community. If you have questions, concerns, or input please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our mission is to educate as well as care for children. In this instance Sunrise will use this unfortunate incident as a way to further educate ourselves with input from our parents and the community.
Dana Vela President Sunrise Preschools"
Maricopa police told KGUN that they are investigating.