Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Journalist
A Fort Worth mother says her 5-year-old daughter came home from Marquita KinderCare with a teacher's earrings in her ears, where old piercings had closed.
A Fort Worth mother says she's "seeing red" after her 5-year-old daughter's ears were repierced without her knowledge while she was at day care.
Eloise Cardenas, 45, tells the Star-Telegram she picked up her daughter Mia and her son from Marquita KinderCare on Wednesday and was told Mia had been complaining that her ears hurt.
"She's been having allergies, so I thought maybe she was coming down with an ear infection," Cardenas told the Star-Telegram. "I turned around and looked at Mia, and she had loop earrings on, like for an adult. I was like, 'Who pierced your ears?' I was so mad, I was seeing red."
Cardenas, who officially adopted Mia and her 6-year-old brother Thursday, said Mia's biological mother had double-pierced each ear but Mia stopped wearing earrings two years ago, so the holes had closed.
Cardenas told the newspaper she confronted the teacher who accused Mia of lying when she said her ears hurt and then said Mia had said it was OK.
"I said, 'She's a kid. You're the adult. You should have known better,'" Cardenas told the Star-Telegram. "I don't care how you look at it, it's wrong."
KinderCare's corporate office released the following statement:
"The teacher did place her earrings in the child's pierced ears.
The safety and security of the children in our care is our top priority. We take this situation seriously and have reported it to State Licensing.
In addition, the teacher was disciplined."
Cardenas filed a police report, but Fort Worth police said the incident did not meet the criteria of a crime. The police department did refer the case to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' child care-licensing division.
Texas' Health and Safety Code prohibits body piercings on children younger than 18 without the consent of a parent or guardian, however the law does not apply to earlobe piercings.
Marquita KinderCare did notify parents about the incident, but one parent NBC 5 talked to didn't think it was a big deal because the day care handled it.
"I thought it was very minor for this to be played up as much as this has, considering how much the day care teachers here love the kids," said Cassie Rhudy, whose 16-month-old daughter attends the day care. "You know, when we look at today's society and we look at all the harm that's done to children, in comparison, it's nothing really."
Cardenas said her children will not return to the day care as long as the teacher is still employed there. "I don't blame the day care," she told the Star-Telegram. "I blame her."
NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report