Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day Scare Center

Imagine you are a busy working parent. You leave work to pick up your toddler, and when you get to the day care center, you find a giant hole in the side of the building. You see broken glass and scattered debris. A moment later, you realize that this hole was caused by 5,000 pounds of metal crashing into the space in the form of an out of control Honda minivan.

That's the frightening scene my friends witnessed today picking up their son from the Bright Horizon day care center on Long Ridge Road. Amazingly, no one was injured. Nine children had just headed outside.

Granted the day care providers may not have developed a protocol for a minivan attack, but many parents were not notified about the crash before pickup. As if that weren't enough for these poor parents, it's not clear whether the building is structurally sound enough to continue with classes tomorrow.

It happened at around 3:30 today, and there's no word so far on what exactly what sent the minivan through the wall.

(photo from Qole Pejorian,


Anonymous said...

I work at another branch of this company and 3:30 is precisely when many parents begin picking their kids up, so it's perfectly understandable that some parents might not have been informed of the accident before they arrived. The first responsibility the directors have is to make sure the kids and their families are safe. That means giving the authorities time to come and assess whether or not anyone should stay in the building. Then they call the parents to let them know what's happened. There's no point sending parents into a panic when their children are safe and sound and the center remained open. It does take a certain amount of time to communicate with that many families.

If I were a parent at that center, I'd have a way bigger problem with the parent driving than with the communication time of the directors.

malerie said...

No news about this in the paper this morning - unless I totally missed it.

Unknown said...

Long Ridge Rd is not a "safe" road and the speed people get going on it is truly frightening!
I have seen similar things happen to homes on this "Speedway".

Anonymous said...

I am the parent of a child at the Long Ridge Bright Horizon. While it was indeed very shocking to show up and find that a car had crashed into the building, I think the center did an excellent, excellent job handling the situation.

First, I agree with the prior post that the center did ensure that all the children were safe, comfortable, and calm, which was absolutely their first priority. My child was with his class on a playground next to the building. All of the infant cribs had been evacuated from the building, all the children were in their coats, had all their food and other belongings with them, and seemed very content. This was no small task for the teachers.

When I arrived around 5 pm, teachers and administrators were in the middle of calling parents from various phones (including teachers' personal cell phones). They simply did not have time to reach everyone before pick up. They had representatives stationed outside the center to greet parents and explain the situation. (Also, I only saw a big hole in the building, no glass or debris when I arrived.)
They already had back up care in place - signing up children to go to the Bright Horizons center on high ridge road. The kids' teachers were also sent to high ridge, so the kids were welcomed by familiar faces.

Children were sent to the other facility so that the building could be inspected by a structural engineer. At noon today, I received a call that the long ridge center is safe to reopen, and would be back in business on Friday. They also informed me that counselors would be on hand to speak with parents and children if they felt they needed it.

Again, I believe that BH did an excellent job handling this situation. They acted quickly, focused on addressing the most high priority issues first, and communicated with parents as effectively as possible under the circumstances.

Poems in Search of Pictures said...

By all accounts, the center did its best under the circumstances. My comments were intended only in sympathy with the parents, and not as a critique of the organization.