It is said that one bad apple ruins the whole bunch. For Apple Montessori Schools in Hoboken, this is the second alarming incident where a child has allegedly been put at risk.
In a conversation with hMAG, a Hoboken parent explained how a two-and-a-half year old boy wandered out of the facility on Sinatra Drive, unaccompanied by any adult personnel.
“Someone left the door open to the classroom,” said the parent, “the vestibule doors were opened by a parent and were open long enough for my son to walk through, and then he was able to go through an open door and outside.”
The child was reportedly outside of the building on Hoboken’s busy waterfront, a mere 20 yards from the Hudson River, for approximately 8-10 seconds.
“Thankfully, he’s ok,” said the parent.
However, the incident turned puzzling when the administration at Apple Montessori allegedly became evasive with the truth behind the incident.
“This took place during the morning drop off, around 8:30,” said the parent. “I didn’t get a phone call until 2 p.m., and I was told by the [now former] director that he only got to the vestibule. ‘He didn’t get outside,’ they told me.”
The child’s parents scheduled a follow up meetings with the administration, for the purpose of reviewing video tapes of the entire incident. At that point, they were allegedly informed that one of the tapes, “might have been deleted,” and that they had “no access to the video” that showed the child exiting the building and for how long.
A week and half later, after discussions with other personnel, it became apparent that the incident that the child got outside the building, not just outside the classroom. Parents received a note discussing a personnel change due to an incident involving a child, and that new protocols were in place regarding the door. The severity and tone of the note set off a red flag with the parents, who hadn’t questioned the validity of the story they were told until then.
“Why would they lie to me about something like that,” said the parent. “It’s the right of every parent to know what goes on there.”
Apple Montessori is a family-owned preschool with locations throughout Northern New Jersey. However, kindergartens, pre-kindergarten programs, or child care centers that are
operated by and are an integral part of, a private educational institution or system providing elementary education in grades kindergarten through sixth are exempt from licensing, per the State of New Jersey. Apple Montessori reportedly falls under that category.
hMAG has made several attempts to contact Apple Montessori. The Sinatra Drive location referred us to their home office in Riverdale, New Jersey. As of press time, we have not received any response.
After continual demands to see more tapes, Apple Montessori administration admitted to the parents that their child had indeed wandered outside the facility.
The parents have since withdrawn their child from the program, adjusting their work schedules to accommodate the disruption in child care until other suitable options can be found.
“They never filed any incident report,” the parent told us. “They’re required to self-report incidents to the state and they didn’t do it,” adding, “we called about it, and there was no record of any report.”
The parents have received a wealth of input on the topic via the Hoboken Mommies facebook page, an extremely popular and vibrant forum for parents in the area. Mentioned on that forum is the 2015 incident in which children were filmed being roughly handled by personnel at the Apple Montessori School’s uptown Hoboken location, which eventually led to a conviction on endangering the welfare of a child and an accompanying jail term for one of the teachers involved.
The parents in this latest case simply want accountability, and awareness.
“People have a right to know,” said the parent. “There has to be better protections in place, and people need to make educated decisions on choosing their day care. They need to go in and ask the right questions.”
Furthermore, the parent would like to see increased scrutiny of child care. “There are so many parents here in Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey, who use these facilities. They need to be held accountable.”