State Investigation Determines Oceanside Preschool Could Have Prevented Toddler’s Death

School “failed to provide safe environment” for students

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Courtesy of Aja Howell
    Tyler Howell with his father, Danny.

    The death of a toddler at an Oceanside preschool in August could have been prevented, a state investigation found.

    The three-year-old choked to death on a pushpin he picked up on the Oceanside Montessori School’s premises on Aug. 8. Despite life-saving efforts, the boy died in the hospital not long after rescuers arrived, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s report.

    The investigation, conducted by the California Department of Social Services, found that the school violated three rules which they said played a role in the boy’s death: the school violated care and supervisory rules, it failed to keep supplies in a storage space not used for other purposes, and it failed to provide safe accommodations for students, according to the document.

    The CDSS launched the routine investigation shortly after the boy's death. The school had prior violations, but a CDSS spokesperson said the violations were not uncommon among schools.

    "Access to small, sharp, pointed objects is an immediate hazard to the health and safety of young children in care," the CDSS document said.

    According to our media partner, the North County Times, an investigator found "two pieces of cardboard with a single thumbtack in them" near the toilet, where a teacher had taken the boy just before he choked.

    School officials attempted to appeal two of the citations, but the state denied the appeals, the NCT said. The state also requires teachers at the school complete 20 minutes of safety preparedness training per month.