UPDATE — June 1, 7:30 p.m.: Goddard Systems’ spokesperson Lek sent the following answers to GMW.
Regarding teacher-student ratio: “Goddard Schools rigorously follow all applicable state laws and guidance regarding maintaining appropriate child-to-teacher ratios. These ratios are based on the age of the child(ren). The State of Connecticut’s regulations do not preclude students from being in one-on-one settings with teachers as long as all other child-to-teacher ratios are maintained.”
Regarding whether the Wilton location would need to undergo any recertification: “Goddard Systems, Inc. strongly recommends to franchisees that they retrain their staff on any applicable safety measures and protocols related to an incident that has occurred. GSI provides training materials and recommendations to our Schools that can be utilized by the location’s franchisee. The Goddard School of Wilton has enhanced its hiring process to include a minimum of two reference checks as well as a reference check from a current employer; is requiring all new hires, and annually for all staff, complete a child-abuse-prevention course conducted by a third-party provider; and is increasing the amount of observations being conducted by the administrative team.”
UPDATE — June 1, 3:45 p.m. — Bonnary Lek, the director of public relations for Goddard Systems, Inc., confirmed that Amy Tingets was immediately placed on leave and is no longer employed by Goddard School of Wilton.
“Our first priority every day is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in our care. We take matters like this very seriously, and we’ve been cooperating with the authorities in reviewing this incident,” Lek told GMW.
While she declined to comment on Tinget’s specific employment history, she said that all employees go through an application process and background check “in accordance with applicable state guidelines and conducted by the relevant authorities.”
“This teacher also went through that process and that application background check as well,” Lek said.
As to whether there is a policy — either company-wide or location-dependent — regarding the number of employees that are required to be present at any time when caring for children or infants, Lek said she would need to look into the question further to determine whether there are regulations specific to Connecticut.
She also said she would need to find out whether, as a franchisee, Goddard School of Wilton is required to complete any recertification process with Goddard Systems, Inc.
ORIGINAL STORY — Tuesday, June 1, 12:50 p.m.: Wilton Police have charged a former employee of the Goddard School of Wilton with assault in the case of an infant they say was injured while in the school’s care.
On May 28, 2021, Amy Tingets turned herself in to Wilton detectives after police secured an arrest warrant in the case, charging Tingets with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.
According to Wilton Police Public Information Officer, Lt. Gregg Phillipson, on Feb. 9, 2021, at approximately 11 a.m., Wilton Dispatch received a 911 call from the Goddard School (385 Danbury Rd.) regarding a 6-month-old infant who was breathing, but unresponsive.
Police say the child was transported to Norwalk Hospital by Wilton EMS, and following initial medical evaluation was found to have suffered a brain injury. Norwalk Hospital’s evaluation would not rule out some type of trauma. Later that day the child was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Over the next several days, doctors at Yale evaluated the 6-month-old and determined that the symptoms the child was experiencing were consistent with abusive head trauma.
According to Phillipson, Wilton Police Detectives determined that the child “had arrived at the Goddard School happy and healthy,” but later could not be awakened from a nap. When the child could not be roused, school personnel called 911.
Phillipson confirmed “an extensive investigation” determined that Tingets, the Goddard School employee assigned to the infant room, was the only caregiver who had contact with the 6-month-old that day, prior to the 911 call.
After she turned herself in to police, Tingets was processed, released on a $10,000 bond, and given a court date of June 7, 2021, at Stamford Superior Court.
Goddard School of Wilton is a year-round daycare and preschool that is franchised through Goddard Systems, Inc. Debbie Lee, the owner of the Goddard School of Wilton, confirmed that Tingets was an employee but is no longer employed at the location. She referred all other questions to Goddard Systems.
GMW has reached out for comment, however, no one was immediately available. This story will be updated as warranted.