NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A local mother's battle for her child's privacy is now gaining national attention.
Newport News resident Melissa Jordan appeared on CNN Tuesday after WAVY.com broke the story about her daycare provider's employee posting pictures of her son on Instagram.
"If you think it's funny that a child is delayed or if they're not perfect or they have shortcomings, if that's a joke to you, then this is not a job for you," Jordan said on CNN.
When Jordan first interviewed on WAVY.com, she said pictures of her son appeared on Instagram -- posted without her permission by an employee of A Heavenly Haven Learning Center 2. Employee Jena Ferrel's post made fun of two-year-old Ethan Jordan's delayed speech development. Manager Ann Pittman commented on the picture, writing words of the same nature.
Ferrel also posted a picture of another child at the daycare, comparing his teeth to a character called "Mater" in the movie "Cars."
Juanita Brown, the operator of the Newport News daycare, said the worker who took the pictures and the one who commented on them have been fired. But Jordan felt the problem went deeper than the two employees, so she called Newport News Social Services Inspector Anita Grubbs.
Tuesday -- more than a week after Jordan's call and after much media coverage -- Jordan finally got a call from the Department of Social Services about the incident.
"I called her before I called WAVY.com because I wanted to figure out what I could do ... she finally called [Tuesday]," Jordan said.
Grubbs inspected the daycare in March. The report listed ten violations, including not updating employee background checks every three years, not making sure employees had TB tests done, not making sure professional references were completed prior to employment, and 13 cribs that did not meet federal guidelines.
"First she asked what was concerning me," Jordan said. "I told her the cribs, the highchairs, the inappropriate use of highchairs, the amount of children to staff ... I believe this Instagram problem is stemming from this no-background-check problem, and this no-reference-check problem. These are all tied together. They are not isolated instances."
Jordan told Grubbs she was disgusted that her son would be left in highchairs to stop him from running around.
"The younger ones like Ethan run out of the classroom. In order to keep them from running away, they keep them in a highchair. That, to me, is disgusting," Jordan said.
Jordan also said she's pleased the wheels of progress are turning.
"But it wasn't until [WAVY] called, and they saw it on TV that they started to ask what else is going on in there. I think that has helped tremendously, and I am very thankful for that," Jordan said.
Daycare Operator Juanita Brown claims all the violations from March have been corrected. She also released a statement last week apologizing for the Instagram incident and distancing the daycare from Ferrel and Pittman. Part of her statement reads as follows:
A Heavenly Haven, myself and the staff ask that you please forgive us for any actions that have surfaced regarding allegations. We would also like to take this time to publicly apologize to Ms. Jordan and her family. A Heavenly Haven's position on the actions of the employees involved zero tolerance, and the employee's have been terminated.
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