Lenoir City day care's license revoked after drug charges

News Sentinel staff

The license of a Lenoir City day care has been revoked after the center's operator and a companion were arrested on drug charges, according to the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

A notice of license revocation for Discovery Depot Learning Center on U.S. Highway 321 was served on the center's lawyer Thursday, records show.

Merridith Preston, the licensed operator, had agreed to temporarily close the child care agency after her Aug. 25 arrest.

The action stemmed from complaints of inadequate supervision made Aug. 21.

Preston's boyfriend, identified as Adam Hicks in records, "admitted smoking marijuana on the playground" and investigators determined that some children had been left with no adult supervision. "Merridith Preston had a prescription drug, Xanax, that was not prescribed to her in her possession and admitted to officers taking the drug," records state.

Preston was charged with possession of a legal drug without a prescription and Hicks was charged with simple possession of marijuana.

The day care center was placed on probation by DHS in March after repeatedly being cited for failure to adequately supervise the children in its charge, according to an agency report.

The report by a DHS child care program evaluator repeatedly observed Preston outside the building, at times smoking, leaving infants and toddlers alone or with inadequate supervision, according to the DHS report.

The center was also cited for hazards to children, including dangling electrical cords, no staff members certified in first aid, no fire alarm or land line telephone and improper supervision of children while eating.