The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

State reprimands day care director


The director of a local day care center has been forbidden from operating the facility after a state investigation into allegations that she injured an 8-year-old girl in her care.

The Child Care Licensing Section of the state Department of Human Resources has notified Simone Reddick that she cannot enter Early Stages Academy and Daycare when children are present, according to documents The Citizen requested under the Georgia Open Records Act. Melody Clark has been appointed the acting director by Reddick.

Reddick was arrested Nov. 27 for simple battery after she hurt the girl while pulling her down the hall by her arm, according to an arrest warrant. That arrest caused the state to issue Reddick an unsatisfactory criminal records check finding, according to a letter sent to Reddick by Child Care Licensing Section Director Jo C. Cato.

"Your unsatisfactory determination prohibits you from being approved to direct or operate a child care program or registered home," the letter states. "Therefore, you must immediately stop directing or operating the licensed or registered child care program."

Reddick also was arrested for obstruction of a law enforcement officer for directing her employees to lie to Sgt. Renee James of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department during an initial investigation, according to records.

Reddick could request a hearing before an administrative law judge to overturn the unsatisfactory criminal records check finding, but she has not made that request as of Tuesday morning, said David Fletcher, one of the state surveyors who conducted the investigation. Reddick has up to 10 days to request such a hearing.

The investigation confirmed that Reddick handled the 8-year-old "roughly" and another employee, Jeanette Brown, spanked the girl with her hands.

State regulations forbid corporal punishment in child care facilities.

Brown, who was also arrested for simple battery, has been terminated from the center and therefore the department has not sought to issue an unsatisfactory criminal records check finding, Fletcher said. That arrest could keep her from working again at a licensed day care center in Georgia, he added.

Early Stages, at 108 Antioch Rd., opened Oct. 5. During an inspection regarding the recent allegations, the Child Care Licensing Section also found one violation unrelated to the charges.

According to CCLS documents, children under 3 years old were not kept separate from other children as required by state regulations.