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West Fargo day care's license revoked

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Parents of more than 90 children in West Fargo may be without day care after the license for Sunrise-Sunset Preschool & Daycare was revoked.

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Owner Eva Lynnes received a revocation notice Friday following an investigation of claims that range from force feeding to roughly handling children.

Lynnes referred all questions from The Forum to her attorney, Kip Kaler, who said the claims were exaggerations and that facts were taken out of context.

"When it's all put into context in the factual situation, it doesn't amount to any type of inappropriate behavior with the children," Kaler said.

The claims stem from complaints by staff members and at least one parent filed with the West Fargo Police Department and Cass County Social Services, said Ron Bedard, the administrator of county services at Southeast Human Service Center in Fargo.

Bedard said it is rare for a day care center to have its license revoked, and this is probably one of three instances in the region over the past 10 years.

The day care will close April 11, giving parents less than two weeks to find new care. Lynnes filed an appeal Friday afternoon after receiving the notice and hopes to extend the current license until a final decision is made on the appeal, Kaler said. The appeal process could take more than a month.

"There is no danger to any children," Kaler said. "(Social Services) hasn't taken any action for immediate ceasing of operations."

A meeting was held Monday for parents with children at the center, who had been informed of the closing in a letter from the North Dakota Department of Human Services. The letter also gave parents contact information for Child Care Resource and Referral, a service to help find day cares with openings in the area, Bedard said.

Kaler said many parents at the meeting did not agree with Social Services' decision to revoke the license.

The center, which lists Eva Lynnes as the owner and her husband, Greg Lynnes, as the bus driver and cook, has been licensed since 1989.

In that time, 11 correction orders were issued for various infractions, three of which are directly related to one or more violations that resulted in the decision to revoke their license, the revocation notice states.

Claims in the investigation include instances of children being coerced or force fed, particularly an incident in which Greg Lynnes "caus(ed) a little girl to scream and cry and causing the corners of her lips to bleed."

Kaler said the incident was an exaggeration and taken out of context.

Another claim alleges that staff members changed diapers on the floor of a shed while children played outside. North Dakota administrative codes require that running water be immediately accessible for diaper changing.

Staff members were not aware the practice was a violation, and the claim has since been addressed, Kaler said.

Other claims include:

- Staff members witnessing Eva Lynnes pulling girls by their pigtails.

- Numerous counts of rough handling, including grabbing and yanking children by their arms and wrists, slapping hands, and pushing children.

- Excessive use of timeouts by Eva Lynnes.

- Verbal altercations between Eva and Greg Lynnes in the presence of children.

Kaler said the claims are believed by his clients to stem from one "dubious" source or staff member.

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