Troubled south Charlotte day care investigated after children found roaming along busy road

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A south Charlotte day care with a history of problems is being investigated once again.

Channel 9 learned that the state is investigating Primrose School of Ballantyne after two young children reportedly walked away from the day care and were found standing in the middle of busy Lancaster Highway.

There’s a fence that surrounds the day care’s playground, but a parent said her 3-year-old and another child pushed the gate open during recess.

Past coverage

Parents are concerned about that and a list of other recent violations Channel 9 uncovered.

“Unacceptable. Unbelievable,” neighbor Nindira Enamorad said. “Thank God the kids are OK.”

Parents said they are shocked how the children were able to make it to the road without anyone keeping an eye on them.

"It's a highway. It's a lot of traffic and you should be more careful with the kids around the school,” neighbor Alda Quintero said.

One of the children’s parents was so outraged that she pulled her child from the school.

Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry went to the school to ask how the incident happened.

The owner declined an on-camera interview, but sent a statement, saying what occurred "was unacceptable and resulted from a malfunction of our playground emergency exit.” She said the school has replaced "the latches on the emergency exit door" and "with the fire marshal" since the incident.

The day care is under new ownership after a scandal last year. Joseph Starnes was accused of fondling children in the school in 2017. He was convicted this year.

Records show the new owners were given a temporary permit November 2017 and a permanent permit in May.

Channel 9 found state records that show 16 violations since the new ownership took over.

Two deal with inadequate supervision. In May, a child was left unsupervised on the playground.

In June, records show a child was left in a classroom unattended.

Channel 9 cameras were at the school as crews worked on the fence.

Some parents told Channel 9 that the latest violation is just too much.

"That's a red flag for all the parents,” Quintera said. “That's a red flag, definitely.”

Full statement from Primrose School:

"The safety and security of the children entrusted to our car is our first priority. We are relieved that no children were harmed, but what occurred yesterday was unacceptable and resulted from a malfunction of our playground exit. We have taken multiple steps to avoid something like this from happening again, including replacing the latches on the emergency exit door, meeting with the fire marshal and adding additional supervision for playground activities."

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