Jamestown Head Start Administrators Admit Mistakes Were Made - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Jamestown Head Start Administrators Admit Mistakes Were Made

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Two days after a Jamestown mom blew the whistle on her daughter being bullied at the Head Start program, administrators admit things could have been handled differently.

Friday morning we received a call from that mom saying administrators showed up at her door telling her that her daughter could not come back.

"They showed up with Addie's backpack and basically said she can't come back," says Carrie Cotton.

Cotton started asking questions about why her daughter was still being harassed. "Why was this going on? What was to happen if I couldn't have her at school? What were my other options? And she said keep her at home," says Cotton.

She is not the only mother concerned about what has been happening. Amanda Dockter's daughter also goes to the Head Start program. She says it is a problem that the center is ignoring these issues, especially when her own daughter is being picked on.

"She's reported multiple times of being kicked or bothered when she's at school," says Dockter.

We went back to Jamestown to find answers for why this was happening. What we did not count on was that our reporter, the administrators and the mom would all show up in the exact same place at the exact same time.

The administrators were there to talk with Cotton. What we overheard were apologies from the two administrators, saying the situation is being handled, they want Addie back on Monday and they hope they can all move on.

"It was a lack of communication between the center and their offices. A lack of communication basically every step of the way," says Cotton.

We also had our chance to talk with the two administrators. "There were mistakes made. We own that. There were mistakes made, a breakdown in communication and move on and fix that, hopefully we made a step to rectify that," says Program Director Tammy Hoggarth.

Hoggarth says the staff is highly trained, and while they do not have an anti-bullying policy, they do follow a curriculum to teach behavioral skills to discourage bullying.

The two added that they go through federal on-site reviews on an annual basis. They assured they do everything to keep the children safe in every capacity.

The administrators would not give details about how the situation was being handled citing privacy issues but made it clear Addie and the other kids would not be bothered anymore.

Cotton and Dockter appreciate everything that was said but, in the end, are taking everything in stride moving forward.

"I mean at the beginning of the next school year, hopefully this doesn't happen again, and if it does, they can look back and say we told you this would be taken care of," says Cotton.

We talked to state Head Start officials about the concerns that the bullying was allowed to go on for so long. They said it is unfortunate that it happened, but any major concerns like this go directly to a federal level since Head Start is a federally funded program.

We were not able to reach federal officials for comment.

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