Parents find Buena Park preschool closed on first day of school

Parents showed up at Crescent Avenue Christian Preschool in Buena Park Tuesday morning to find the school was shut down.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
A lot of parents are looking for a new preschool for their children after they showed up at Crescent Avenue Christian Preschool in Buena Park Tuesday morning, only to find it was shut down.

The California Department of Social Services says it has filed an action to take away the license of the daycare facility.

The Department claims several violations over the past four years, including allegations that children were using the bathroom without supervision and were left napping without teachers in the room. It also alleges the school failed to do criminal background checks for new hires.

The preschool has been cited 39 times by the Department of Social Services and 18 times for issues involving an immediate health or safety threat.

There are about 85 students enrolled at any given time. The school, located at 5600 Crescent Avenue, has been licensed for 23 years.

Parents rallied outside the preschool on Sunday, demanding refunds for the tuition they've already paid. According to a letter written by the interim pastor, the reimbursement checks should be mailed within three to four weeks.

Closure notices are posted on windows and doors. The school's website had no announcement of the closure. Parents say they were promised answers and a meeting Sunday. Instead, they were handed a postponement flyer and greeted by security and police officers.

"We've been asking since we found out what happened via phone calls, in-face, emails, voicemails, everything, standing out here face-to-face," parent Megan Brown said. "We are getting absolutely nowhere."

The school's pastor refused to speak to Eyewitness News.

Parents told Eyewitness News they sent their children to Crescent Avenue Christian Preschool because of its focus on Christian beliefs. But the way the church and its interim Pastor Lat Syprasert are handling the shutdown has parents outraged.

"He's supposed to be a man of God, but what do you do? Preach the truth and then you lie? You're a hypocrite, and it's just so sad," grandparent Elaine Lester said.

Teachers like Kelly Muesse are unemployed.

"I think we were being bullied by the state and I think the Church of the Nazarene got scared," Muesse said.

The Department of Social Services says the school has the ability to go before a judge and fight these allegations to potentially re-open the school.

The interim pastor set up a video camera pointing toward the entrance of the school Tuesday morning. It was not immediately clear why, since he would not talk to Eyewitness News.

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