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State investigating daycare after misbehaving toddler allegedly locked in bathroom

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UPDATE: The state wrapped up its investigation, and as of May 22, 2019, no deficiencies were found.

BATON ROUGE - The Department of Children and Family Services has launched an investigation into Creative Children's Learning Center after an employee alleged a teacher put a crying toddler in a locked bathroom because he misbehaved.

Latrinda Sanford said she can still hear the screams.

"I quit my job behind it," Sanford said. "I heard a child screaming, hollering, and kicking. I heard it for at least a minute. It made me get up to see what was going on."

Protesters gathered in front of the building Friday holding signs and chanting. The impromptu protest was complete with onlookers and a visit from police.

Sanford said she saw a teacher holding the door closed while the toddler was screaming to get out. Sanford then called the child's mother.

The mother told WBRZ that she pulled both of her children out of the Creative Children's daycare immediately. She commended the teacher's actions and said she was grateful that Sanford stood up for her child.

"If I hadn't spoken up I would be in the same boat they are in," Sanford said. "I'm an advocate. I have children. I wouldn't want anyone to put my child in the bathroom with the door closed."

The WBRZ Investigative Unit found in the past two years, Creative Children's Learning Center has faced a litany of problems. State inspectors noted in 2017 that the facility was not up-to-date with fire inspections, equipment was not clean and safe, and broken glass and hanging metal was found near a classroom for 2-year-olds.

In 2018, the facility lost its license. State inspectors say the business did not file their annual report and their license was revoked, however, it was reinstated later that year.

"You have cameras in there but the cameras don't work," Sanford said. "I filed a complaint. If your cameras were working you could rewind the cameras to know that I'm not lying. I will take what I'm saying to the White House and back. That child was in the bathroom. That door was closed. I asked the teacher if they would want someone to do it to her child."

WBRZ reached out to an employee at the facility Friday. We were immediately told to leave the property. The owner, who is located in Kentucky, told us by phone that she could not discuss the incident.

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