7-year-old girl abandoned

Theresa James, of Lowell, tells me that the owner of her 7-year-old daughter’s daycare, Luz Clarita’s Daycare, at 69 Fifth St., in Lowell, notified both parents and the agency her daycare is affiliated with that she would be on vacation this week.

James’ daughter, Ashley Reynolds, goes to the St. Louis Elementary School in Lowell, and then takes a bus operated by Acre Family Child Care to her daycare after school.

On Monday, the Acre Family Child Care bus was supposed to drop Ashley off at another daycare a block away on Fifth Street. Instead, the bus dropped her off at 69 Fifth St., and then drove away before any adults came outside to greet the little girl.

The daycare was closed. Ashley Reynolds, pictured at left, was left alone in Lower Centralville.

“They abandoned my child,” James told me today.

Ashley initially refused to speak with me. She’s not allowed to talk to strangers. Her mother assured her it was okay to talk to me on the phone, though.

“I was scared,” she said. “I think it was about 45 minutes I was there alone. I cried.”

After about 45 minutes, Ashley said she had to go to the bathroom so she went to the home of a boy she’s friends with next door to the daycare, and asked if that boy’s mother would let her use the bathroom.

The neighbor quickly realized the daycare was closed, and let Ashley use her telephone.

Ashley, who had memorized her mother’s number with help from the folks at Luz Clarita’s Daycare, called her mother.

James was at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, though, since her 3-year-old son had a stomach bug. She had to call Ashley’s grandmother to go pick up the girl right away.

James said that in the meantime, another Acre Family Child Care bus dropped off another boy at the daycare. The same bus later returned and picked that boy up, James said, apparently after realizing the mistake.

James called police, who took a report and plan to investigate how this happened. She also left a message with the state Department of Early Childhood Development, though she has yet to hear back from that agency.

I spoke to Luz Mejia, who owns Luz Clarita’s Daycare, after she heard about the incident while on vacation in Florida, and called both James and the newspaper. She reiterated what James had said, that she notified both parents and Acre Family Child Care that she was going on vacation. She said she too wants answers about how this happened.

James said she is not angry with the daycare, and plans to continue sending Ashley there.

Ashley doesn’t mind. She said “school is fun.”

James is furious with Acre Family Child Care, though, even after she got an apology today from Kathy Reticker, executive director of Acre Family Child Care.

The apology just didn’t cut it, and James now plans to take time off from her job to find a new means of transportation for her daughter and 3-year-old son.

She said the bus drivers are supposed to wait after dropping a child off, and not leave until they see the child make contact with an adult.

“Ashley will never go on that bus again,” James said.

I called Reticker this afternoon, and she was very polite, but she said “I’m not at liberty to comment.”

For information on how safe of a neighborhood Ashley was left in, here is a list of crimes that have been reported within a fifth of a mile of where she was left, just since March.

3 responses to “7-year-old girl abandoned

  1. OMG! I would freak if that happened to any one of my children. Especially in that neighborhood–I can say that ,having lived in lower Centerville the last 5 yrs.and working there the last 5 as well.,the fear she must of felt.and then the little boy afterwards.even though they went back to get him.how he must of felt before they came back.my kids aren’t even allowed to play in the backyard without myself or my husband.so I know they wouldn’t know what to do in that situation.Just glad that driver didn’t make that mistake w my kids,for her own sake.

  2. Almost the same thing happened to my 6 yr old son just a couple of months ago. The first time was the school buses fault second time was dracut brooksides fault. Yup happened twice just a couple of months apart. Lowell Sun wouldn’t help me or the school. I really feel bad for this little girl and her family. I really hope that bus driver gets fired!!!

  3. I hope the results from this investigation is put in the news and lowell sun. People want to know what is happening

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