Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wesley Chapel day care worker charged with neglect

WESLEY CHAPEL — A former employee at Discovery Point day care was charged Tuesday with child neglect after witnesses said she mishandled a toddler at the facility.

Barbara Bridges, 54, worked at the day care at 5415 Post Oak Blvd., near the entrance to Lexington Oaks. Witnesses told deputies that Bridges dragged a 2-year-old boy by his arm and "flung" him against a wall on several occasions, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office report.

Witnesses also said Bridges lifted the child by his arm and dropped him about 2 to 3 feet into a crib, carried him "like a sack of potatoes" to the front desk area and dropped him on his back and head from waist height, authorities said.

"I may have set him down too hard because I was frustrated," Bridges told investigators about the incident, according to her arrest report.

Bridges was booked at the Land O'Lakes jail and released on $5,000 bail. She declined Wednesday to speak to the Times.

The incidents happened around noon March 30, but weren't reported to deputies until May 6, authorities said. Detectives investigated and found probable cause for the arrest.

"The child did not have any injuries," said sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. "That's why it's not child abuse. But the actions of the defendant did meet the criteria for child neglect."

Discovery Point Child Development has 59 centers in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, since opening in 1988, that cater to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, according to the Discovery Point website.

The center declined to speak to the Times Wednesday.

Jim Farrelly, executive director of the Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition, said the Department of Children and Families reported that Bridges was no longer a Discovery Point employee at the time of her arrest.

Several parents who came to pick up their kids from the day care Wednesday afternoon told the Times they hadn't heard of the incident. But all said they'd had good experiences with the facility.

DCF inspectors have routinely found the facility in compliance with state regulations, with the exception of a few paperwork matters that were quickly resolved.

The facility also has received high praise from the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties for its Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program.

"Discovery Point 62 has offered PVK for two years with us and has an excellent reputation," Farrelly said. "Our relationship with that Discovery Point will be unchanged."

Wesley Chapel day care worker charged with neglect 06/08/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker


    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.

  2. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass


    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  3. Pasco students, 12 and 15, faces weapons, threat charges


    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday after one brought weapons onto campus and the other threatened a shooting, according to sheriff's deputies.

  4. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools will start an hour later next year, beginning the day at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 3:25 p.m., the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]