Head Start audits find safety violations - CBS46 News

Head Start audits find safety violations

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

When parents send their kids off to school, they assume they're safe. A report out Tuesday about the federally funded Head Start program for low-income families tells a different story.

The audit scrutinized programs in seven states, including Georgia. Each audit details violations ranging from not doing criminal background checks on employees, to safety violations on the playground.

The Head Start program in Carrollton was just one of dozens of schools in Georgia audited. Inspectors went to schools to see if they comply with state and federal regulations and standards.

"What do you think when you hear about the safety violations here," asked reporter Jennifer Mayerle.

"It makes me not want to let my kids go here," said parent Crystal Hesler. 

At the school, poison ivy was growing near the playground, scissors were accessible to kids and playground equipment was broken.

"I hope they clean it up and make it a better place for the kids to come here, because my kids love coming here," said Hesler.

Elsewhere in the state, inspectors found a broken window, electrical outlets exposed without plugs, and areas where kids could trip over tree roots and moldy ceiling tiles.

Around the country, the findings were even worse: chemicals left within reach of children, a fence to a busy street left open and a machete left unattended near where children play.

The most potentially dangerous violation found at several Georgia Head Start schools, and even more across the country, was not having all criminal background checks done on employees. 

Not all parents want to yank their kids out of the program.

"They've got so many areas they've got to cover, I don't think it's impossible or think there's anything wrong with them missing something as long as they're willing to fix it," said Deondre Wheeler.

The Head Start centers in Georgia have made corrections to the violations.

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