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Toddler's injury was spider bite, not burn, investigation shows

HOUSTON – After a mother said her daughter was burned at a west Houston day care in February, the child care provider said the state has cleared them of any wrongdoing.

Little Scholars Learning Center, located off of Westheimer Road, said Texas Health and Human Services along with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services sent them a letter stating the day care and teacher did not commit neglect or abuse.

"We love our children, the children who come here, their parents are giving us their precious things to us, a thing like that could never happen here,” said Asra Bilgrami, the director of Little Scholars Learning Center. “To burn a toddler, that’s a big allegation on us.”

On Feb. 16, the day care recorded an incident that a toddler had bitten a 2-year-old girl on the arm.

“We called the parent, wrote the report and the next day she started claiming, 'It’s not a bite, it’s a burn,'” Bilgrami said.

The child’s mother, Tammy Andrews, contacted KPRC Channel 2 News after she said the bruise became red and bloody two days after the alleged incident.

“When I got to the day care, the bruise that I saw on her arm was nothing like a bite mark at the time. I didn’t know exactly what had happened,” Andrews explained in February.

“So I began to ask the teacher what was going on and she told me the kids were in the corner playing and my daughter had a puzzle and the kids wanted (it) and one of the other babies walked up to her and tried to get it and she refused to give it to him, so he bit her,” she said.

It’s the story the teacher wrote on the incident report, which the day care alleges Andrews wouldn’t sign.

The mother, who said the bruise did not have any teeth marks, took her daughter to an emergency room.

“The doctor did explain to me and confirm that this was not a bite mark, it was a burn mark, a single second-degree burn mark, in the forearm, left forearm, due to thermal burn or friction burn,” said Andrews back in February.

Little Scholars Learning Center said that they reported the allegation to the state and were under investigation.

“I talked to DFPS; they came all the way here, they did a thorough investigation. They were very aggressive about it,” Bilgrami said. “They talked to the parents, they talked to the teachers, they talked to the children, they checked our cleaning standards, our pest control history. Today, they told us on phone verbally that nothing has happened here, we have no role in it, the teacher also got the letter.”

The director said the DFPS investigation shows the bruise was possibly from a spider bite that happened separately.

KPRC Channel 2 News spoke with Andrews, who stated she doesn’t believe that and is continuing to pursue legal action against the day care.

“They sued us ... two different lawyers. It’s really sad,” Bilgrami said. “Now we are cleared (by the state) and we are good and I believe that our work is not going to go anywhere.”

Responded Andrews: “I want to make all of the parents aware of what has happened to my daughter and I want justice. I feel very hurt, disappointed, sad. I wasn’t there, I still don’t know what happened to her.”

Andrews said she pulled her 21-month-old and 12-year-old daughter from the day care.

“It was hard for me to leave her with someone because I don’t trust her with anyone at this point, but I had to go back to work,” Andrews said.

Since her daughter is too young and just learning to talk, she said she has no idea what happened.

“As far as the cameras, the police asked for surveillance and videotapes and they have not been working for over a month, so that’s something else parents should need to know as well,” Andrews said.

The director of Little Scholars Learning Center said they couldn’t comment because the incident is under investigation, but said Camille’s teacher has been placed on administrative leave without pay.