Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. Before Janessa Shannon's death, parents traded accusations of abuse

    Crime

    TAMPA — Long before Janessa Shannon's remains were discovered in a Hillsborough County nature preserve, her parents tried to convince court officials that she was in danger.

    From her own family.

    Janessa Shannon, 13, was found dead July 12 in the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Hillsborough County. [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  4. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.