Child Left In The Cold, Three Teachers Suspended - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Child Left In The Cold, Three Teachers Suspended

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Allegations that teachers at a Fargo YMCA made a child stand outside in the cold as punishment. Those three teachers are now suspended after breaking company policy.

It happened Monday at the YMCA in south Fargo.  A concerned parent called our Valley News Live whistleblower hotline, and we investigated.

A parent was dropping off their child at the Y Learning Center, when they saw a 4 year old boy standing outside with no coat on. The boy told the parent he was being 'punished', and they called police, who did talk with staff about what happened. Today we sat down with YMCA staff to find out what steps are now being taken.

Their policy is to have the children play outside everyday.

"To get some fresh air, unless the weather conditions are real extreme." says YMCA President Paul Finstad. On Monday morning temperatures were in the mid-teens. Finstad continues, "They had one child that was being a little challenging, they were having trouble getting into his outdoor apparel, they took the child and his clothes outside, and had him stand on his snowsuit and were waiting for him to be ready to put it on."

YMCA Vice President Lorrie Thoemke says,"By no means would this be proper procedure to take a child out, for discipline reasons without proper clothing on." Some staff members say the policies are clearly stated. Thoemke continues, "Our policy specifically states that we do not use any kind of punishment that would take away warmth food sleep, that kind of things."

The four year old was brought in and properly dressed by another staff member, but the three teachers involved are now suspended.

"We obviously are still reviewing, what took place so we are moving in the right direction with it." Finstad says. And while looking at their own staff, the police will stay involved along with social services.

"We'll have some drop-in's by licensing and we welcome that, because we want to do the best that we can for the children at all times." Thoemke says. The YMCA says they will be looking into the suspensions of each teacher and reviewing the place they have in their centers.

Since the incident, two children have been pulled from the Y program, the four year old boy and the child of the parent who saw him standing outside.

Last night a letter was sent out to all the parents explaining the situation and parents are encouraged to ask questions.

This all started from a call to our Whistleblower hotline, and we want to continue to bring issues like this to light. Call our whistleblower hotline at 701-237-6576 and leave your tip, a member of our team will investigate, and go to work for you.

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