Complaints, arrest shut day care doors
A Loudon County day care center has shut
down and agreed to a suspension of its license following complaints of
inadequate supervision and possible illegal activity, a state official
A daycare in Loudon County has been suspended on a parent's accusation of finding children unsupervised, as the daycare director was on the porch with a man who was smoking marijuana. Discovery Depot Learning Center between Lenoir City and Greenback has been temporarily shut down. A father said Thursday he went to the daycare's newer building to pick up his child and found no adults in the building. When he asked the children where the adults were, he said they told him they were around back, smoking. He reported a 7-year-old child was left in charge of 3- and 4-year-old children. The father reported finding the owner of the daycare and other daycare workers on the back porch with a man who was smoking marijuana. The father said he did not say anything to the people out back, instead getting his own child, heading home, and calling authorities.
The next day, sheriff's deputies went to the daycare's older facility, which was still in operation, to talk to the owner about the reported incident. There, they found 41-year-old Merridith Preston and a man they identified as her boyfriend, 28-year-old Decker Hicks. Deputies said they asked Hicks if he had any drugs on his person and he produced a small amount of marijuana. Deputies said they asked Preston if she had any drugs in her possession and she produced percocet, for which she had a prescription, and Xanax, for which she did not. Preston was booked on possession of Xanax without a prescription. Hicks was booked on simple marijuana possession, but authorities are looking to file enhanced charges because it was on the grounds of a daycare.
The Tennessee Department of Human Services reports the daycare was a 1-star rated center that opened in March, 2004.The daycare has been voluntarily suspended pending the outcome of the accusation. Licensee Merridith Preston signed to voluntarily suspend the license.