By Joy Bergmann
A recent inspection by the City Health Department backs up some of the growing complaints from parents at Goddard Riverside Day Care Center at 114 West 91st Street. There’s a serious rodent infestation, with mouse feces on cots and toys, and administrators haven’t done enough to combat it, they say.
On January 25, inspectors found two “Critical Violations” requiring correction within two weeks:
- Child care service not free of pests or maintains pest harborage
- Child care service failed to take any and all necessary action to eliminate potential hazards
Two “General Violations” cited were:
- Floors/walls ceilings were observed not maintained; in disrepair or covered in a toxic finish
- Child care service failed to take appropriate action to keep facility free of pests or conditions conducive to pests; fails to maintain extermination service log
“It’s horrible,” says Ann Bascom whose four-year old son is one of 60 preschoolers attending the program. “The school needs to be closed to properly clean it and fix all the holes.”
School officials say they’re trying. “All of the issues have been corrected or are on their way to being corrected,” says Trish Anderton, Director of Public Relations for Goddard Riverside Community Center. “We take this very seriously and are committed to being a safe and enjoyable place for children to be.”
Another parent, Shanghel Meighan, has been photographing conditions and says workers dressed in safety gear and masks have been doing repairs and using foams while children are present, “They’re still jeopardizing these kids by having this done while children are on premises.” Meighan took the photos below of workers in masks, and a hole in the floor that they filled with foam.
Phillippa Bowden says the prevalence of mouse droppings has aggravated the asthma of her four-year old son, who started the program in October. “This is the most he’s ever been sick,” she says.
The facility has a poor track record with DOH; 100% of its annual inspections over the past three years yielded violations requiring immediate correction (Public Health Hazards), according to the Health Department’s web site. By comparison, the citywide average is 38%. In August 2014, the center was temporarily closed for an array of violations, including failing to conduct employee background checks and failing to “provide constant and competent supervision for children within its care.”
To see the inspection reports, go to this site and type in 2061 for the permit number.
WSR approached two mothers departing the building Monday afternoon. Neither had heard anything about a rodent infestation but one mother noted a teacher had been urging kids to keep things in bins to prevent “gnawing.”
Kenna Kolaitos, a parent whose daughter attends another Goddard Riverside day care center at a separate location, blamed the day care’s administration, who she says have not listened to parents. “Many parents feel intimidated by the system,” she says. The school has changed directors multiple times in the past year, said Meighan.
“It’s a whole mess, but the teachers are wonderful,” she said.