Child Development Center gets ready to train new staff after firing five teachers


Perla Lara

After the Wednesday July 20 Board of trustees meeting Cerritos College Psychology Professor Kimberley Duff (black and white shirt) comforted fired Cerritos College daycare center teacher Brisa Ocean (blue shirt). During the meeting Duff spoke to the board members on behalf of Ocean and the four other fired teachers. Duff described the five fired teachers as “the best teachers our children have ever had.” Duffs 2 children attended Cerritos daycare center. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Terrel Emerson

According to Director of the Child Development Center Debra Ward, in a little over a month since the outpour of support for the five teachers fired in the Child Development Center at the Cerritos College Board of Trustee meeting, a lot has been done.

In a statement signed by all five fired instructors on July 5, the teachers were given the difficult decision to either resign from their positions or be terminated.

For the teachers, the argument is that they believe they were retaliated against for something that had been brought to the attention of the school on numerous occasions.

According to multiple sources, such as business administration professor Gerardo Ramos, the Child Development Center has been dealing with the issue of doors that do not fully close.

It has been well-documented that children have gotten out of the center and were seen roaming the campus without supervision.

“In collaboration with the Facilities Department, we have taken extra steps to ensure the safety of our children. We have also asked for parent support to ensure the doors are closed when they enter and exit the building,” Ward said.

The additional changes include:

· A pony wall was installed to the front entrance of the office.

· The doors were recalibrated.

· Signs were posted reminding parents to close the doors.

· An extra-self latching lock was installed on the small interior gate.

· Plexiglass sheets now cover the panels on the fencing and gate.

· A doorbell alarm was installed to alert staff, when someone enters and exits the building.

Ramos claims the board of trustees has known about the faulty doors since at least June 30.

How is he so sure? Because he is the one that brought it to the school’s attention, however he was not sure if it was brought to the attention of the Interim Vice President of Human Resources Harry Joel.

Joel denied comment saying, “This is a confidential personnel matter.”

According to a statement given by Ward, “The incident that occurred which affected employees at the Child Development Center was self-reported within 24 hours and an investigation from Department of Social Services was conducted on July 27, 2016.

“The regulations concerning case and supervision is as follows: (Title 22 Regulations, Section 101229) require staff to be ‘visually observing and supervising’ children at all times, and state that ‘No child shall be left without the supervision of a teacher at any time. Supervision shall include visual observation.” This intent is to allow children to play freely while staff continually observe, as they pan and move around, aware and able to respond.”

Ward added that the Child Development Center is a model for the Reggio Emilia inspired approach.

According to, the Reggio Emilia Approach is “Education is committed to the creation of conditions for learning that will enhance and facilitate children’s construction of ‘his or her own powers of thinking through the synthesis of all expressive, communicative and cognitive language’ (Edwards and Forman, 1993).”

Questions about the teachers have been met with responses regarding the hiring of new staff.

“To fulfill our current needs, we are in the process of recruiting staff for our new school year […], The new grant funding has afforded our program three new positions to support staff with in-depth project work, curriculum, mentoring and parenting workshops.

These positions are the Atelierista/Art Studio Teacher, Outdoor Classroom and Program Specialist,” according to the statement Ward gave.

For the two days before the center’s new school year starts it will be closed for staff training and topics to address health and safety issues.