An investigation of the records of a Norwalk, Conn. nursery school shows that the school failed to perform proper background checks on a former preschool teacher accused of molesting two students. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Frank Canosa, owner and director of Tumble Bugs Day School, and his staff “failed to ensure the safety, health and development of the children in care.” The abuse is alleged to have occurred approximately two years ago, and a 44-year-old teacher was arrested for the alleged incident earlier this year.
Following the arrest, Canosa sent an email to parents assuring them that all Tumble Bugs teachers undergo background checks conducted by the Department of Children and Families, as well as state and federal fingerprinting. Additionally, he said that staff also receives semi-annual abuse and neglect training. However, prior to the arrest, a September 2011 inspection by Department of Public Health investigators determined that Tumble Bugs did not complete the appropriate background checks for the accused teacher. In December 2011, Canosa received a violation notice from DPH child care licensing supervisor Sandra L. Lok, which stated Tumble Bugs “failed to submit to the department fingerprint cards for state police and federal criminal record checks and specific forms for a DCF child abuse/neglect record check.”
Cansosa’s attorney, Stephen Sedor, is disputing the DPH charges, and notes that there has not been any disciplinary action taken against Tumble Bugs. Says Sedor, “Tumble Bugs did not fail to ensure the children’s safety and beyond that I have no further comment.” The violation notice also stated that the allegations “could result in regulatory action up to and including revocation of your license to provide childcare.” At this time, no action has been taken against the preschool. After a compliance meeting Canosa and his attorney attended with DPH in January, it was concluded that corrective actions taken by Tumble Bugs were “found to be appropriate and therefore no formal discipline against the license was deemed necessary,” according to DPH spokesman William Gerrish. DPH has since closed the case.
However, the allegations and arrest of the teacher has parents concerned. Mike Gordon, parent of a child enrolled at Tumble Bugs at the time of the alleged abuse is “horrified”, and surprised to find out the preschool failed to perform background checks on the accused teacher. “I think common sense, not to mention state law, would ensure that day care employees get the proper background checks," he said. "It's stunning that in this case it didn't happen, and tragic.”
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