Local daycare Puddle Jumpers under new ownership after growing concerns on social media
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) - A local daycare center is now under new leadership after multiple concerns from parents and former employees.
The Leland daycare Puddle Jumpers sparked a heated discussion on social media over the weekend, with most parents claiming that they were never informed of changes that affected their children.
Former employees of the business say that things got so bad under the previous owner that multiple complaints have been filed with the State Labor Department. They say that they haven’t been paid for the month of June, sparking scrutiny from many parents.
“Then everybody started quitting, and that’s a major red flags when your entire staff doesn’t even make it a full year,” said Courtney Doychak, one of the parents of a child at Puddle Jumpers.
On Tuesday, after the outrage on social media, the owner of Puddle Jumpers sent out an email to parents that she had gifted the business away, and that new owners would be taking over.
Miranda Manning, the new Director of the Leland location, is promising full transparency to parents. She is one of the prospective owners of the daycare, but she hasn’t made her final decision yet.
“I will be at that gate every day, morning and pick up time to have conversations with parents and address things in real time,” she said. “I will also have a phone where you can text or call at any time.”
So far, four former employees have told WECT that they have filed complaints with the state over not receiving their paychecks.
They also alleged that the former owner made them sign non-disclosure agreements to keep them from talking about what happens behind closed doors.
“I feel guilty that I did not do the research before I enrolled my son,” said Krista Bland.
Many parents expressed that they have contacted the State Attorney General’s Office to see if they can get them out of the NDAs.
“It was just in the new employee paperwork, and I didn’t think anything of it,” said a former employee who wished to remain anonymous. “I thought, yeah, sure. What’s the big deal? I’ve never had to sign one before. But I’m like, nothing will ever happen. Because everybody I’ve ever worked for has has been a professional. So I’ve never had the need to question.”
Manning assured that she plans to address these major concerns from parents and workers moving forward.
“It is important to me to build a school that is surrounded with a community that understands that we need to build schools differently. We need to offer different resources to parents that aren’t traditional in schools,” she said. “Parents need more access, and communication, and they need more reassurance of safety. And I understand that, and moving forward that is what I will offer you.”
The former owner told WECT that as soon as she has the funds to do so, those employees will be paid for their time.
Parents across the board expressed that they are trying to get back their deposits so their children won’t have to attend the daycare center this fall.
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