3 teachers suspended after child left in cold

AP Photo
AP Photo

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Three teachers at a North Dakota YMCA have been suspended amid allegations they made a 4-year-old boy stand outside in the cold as punishment.

A parent spotted the boy without a coat outside of the Y Learning Center on Monday morning in Fargo, KVLY-TV reported. The boy allegedly told the parent that he was being punished. The parent, in turn, called police.

YMCA staff told the TV station that the teachers were having trouble getting the child to put on his outdoor apparel, so they took the child and his clothes outside and "had him stand on his snowsuit and were waiting for him to be ready to put it on."

The teachers did not follow proper procedure, officials said.

"Our policy specifically states that we do not use any kind of punishment that would take away warmth, food, sleep, that kind of thing," YMCA Vice President Lorrie Thoemke said.

The center aims to let children play outside every day unless wintry conditions are too extreme. Early Monday, temperatures were in the mid-teens.

"By no means would this be proper procedure to take a child out for discipline reasons without proper clothing on," Thoemke said.

The 4-year-old was brought inside and properly dressed by another staff member, and the three teachers involved are now suspended, officials said.

Findstad said the Y is reviewing policies with its staff. Letters went out Monday to parents to explain what had happened.

KVLY reported that two children have been pulled from the program - the boy who was left outside and the child of the parent who reported spotting him.

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