A National MP has called for the Ministry of Education to make sure children at an Auckland kindergarten are safe while investigations into a boy’s injuries are underway.
Masua Tusa, a 4-year-old with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair, went home from Manurewa West Kindergarten on Wednesday with a swollen left eye, scratches and a bleeding nose after he fell down the stairs, the NZ Herald reported.
National's spokesperson for early childhood education, Nicola Willis, said in a statement the incident reported “is incredibly disturbing”.
“A young, vulnerable child has had an unexplained accident, leading to awful injuries, medical care doesn’t seem to have been sought and parents have not been pro-actively informed,” she said.
The boy’s family said they were not told and only found out about the injuries when they picked him up. But, an unnamed staff member the NZ Herald spoke to said they were unable to reach Masua’s mother.
Ms Willis said “the Ministry of Education must assure parents that Manurewa West Kindergarten is a safe place for them to be sending their children".
“The ministry should conduct a thorough investigation into this matter," she added. "If that investigation requires an interim suspension of the kindergarten’s service, then so be it.”
She said the Government should “act decisively” to assure parents of the good work of most early childhood educators.
In a statement on the Manurewa West Kindergarten Facebook page, the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association, of which the kindergarten in question is part of, assured they take children’s safety “very seriously”.
“With full cooperation from kindergarten staff, we are following the proper avenues with the Ministry of Education and our internal processes to ensure that this incident is investigated in full.”
They said they were unable to comment further due to privacy.
But the child’s grandfather, Nonoa Tusa, said on Facebook this was the second incident at the same kindergarten. Masua had also previously scratched his head.
“We were promised that he would be supervised at all times,” he said on Facebook. He questioned how his grandson fell down the stairs if this was the case.
Masua was unable to speak clearly enough to tell his family what happened.
Doctors said his injuries were not major.
Leika Tusa, Masua’s uncle, said a staff member struggled to say what had happened.
NZ Herald reported the kindergarten had called the family to meet with them this morning.
Senior Sergeant Sarah Leyland told 1 NEWS Counties Manukau Central Police received a report yesterday about the injuries.
She said police were looking into the incident and had visited and spoken to staff at the centre.