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Teacher falls asleep at Hobe Sound day care center prompting DCF investigation

Posted at 7:45 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 12:06:01-04

A day care center in Hobe Sound is under investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Families after reports of a teacher falling asleep, leaving children unsupervised.

The DCF confirmed it is investigating the Dunbar Center but wouldn’t go into details.

Rachel Nee’s 2-year old son was one of five children in the class during the incident on Feb. 20.  Nee said she wasn’t notified about it by the center but got a call from DCF, informing her about the investigation.


“It was absolutely the worst phone call I’ve ever received,” Nee said on Wednesday. “I actually broke down and cried.”

The DCF told Nee that the teacher had fallen asleep in class.

“I think should have been informed (by the school) and other parents should have been informed when things like this happen and I shouldn’t receive a phone call from DCF,” Nee said.

The director of the Dunbar Center, Paul Kelly, did not want to go on camera but confirmed the incident.

He said two teachers were looking after the children when one of them left to go to the bathroom. The other teacher then fell asleep. Kelly said the teacher had taken over-the-counter PM painkillers, which he said was a clear mistake on her part.

Nee said the youngest of the five children in class that day is only 10 months old and was eating a chicken wing without supervision.

Kelly said he reported the incident to DCF and fired the two teachers.   He also said the children were only without supervision for about five to 10 minutes.

Nee said that brings little comfort to her since her son suffers from seizures. Even a few minutes unsupervised could be a life or death matter.

“I was concerned that my kid was left with another teacher who was not directed on how to use that medicine and wasn’t watching my child sleeping if God forbid he seized,” Nee said.

Nee immediately took her son out of the day care center.

The DCF’s investigation is ongoing.

The Dunbar Center has about 90 children, many of them with special needs, according to Kelly.

Last year the DCF found during an inspection that the center had cleaning supplies accessible to children. The report from March 8 said: “Bleach water was accessible in three classrooms.”

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