MARYLAND

Toddlers found wandering outside Bethesda day care center

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A Bethesda day care center is trying to figure out how toddlers wandered off a playground and onto the streets.

(Photo: Elizabeth/Table4Five via Creative Commons)

When Wendy Rhein arrived to pick her 2-year-old son up from Bethesda/Lynbrook Child Care Center just before 5 p.m., she saw something she didn't expect. Rhein found her child, along with three other 2-year-olds, wandering outside the center. She says the center was unaware the children, who were found down the street by a stranger and his dog, were missing.

"He was yelling, 'Lynbrook, Lynbrook you've lost your kids," Rhein recalled.
"That's when I saw one of his caregivers coming off the playground with one child, and I just started yelling to her, 'what happened you lost four out of eight kids, what happened,' and she didn't even know how to answer. She just said, 'I don't know.'"

No one knows how long the children were gone.

At this time, the school won’t release an incident report, but says it is conducting a private investigation. In a statement released late Tuesday, the school said:

"We regret this incident occurred and have taken immediate and decisive action. We have conducted an investigation into this incident and the teachers involved have been terminated..."

But Rhein wants more.

"I would like them to be more transparent on their protocols, tell the parents exactly what happened, where things broke down and what specifically they are going to do to fix."

Parents picking up their children Tuesday night agreed it's a scary situation, but parent Frank Vinik feels the school has responded correctly.

Vinik said, "The director of all 14 centers was here, as well as the head of the board and the head of the school, so they are now on top of it..."

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