A Central Saanich daycare could end up losing its licence after police arrested, then released, a male teacher at the facility over unspecified “allegations of concern” against the individual involving his conduct with children in his care.
Montessori Educare Centre in the 7900-block of East Saanich Road in Central Saanich remains closed as Island Health investigates the facility after Central Saanich police executed a search warrant there Monday.
Officers had earlier arrested a male teacher at the facility after conducting an investigation over the weekend. Police later released the man in his 30s with an unspecified Greater Victoria address on conditions. Police have not laid any charges against the man and police officer with special training continue to interview dozens of families whose children have attended the facility.
Island Health said in a statement to the Peninsula News Review that protecting “the health, safety and well-being of children in licensed child care” is a priority for a program that licenses health and community care facilities.
“Island Health can confirm Licensing will be investigating VME Montessori Educare Centre in Central Saanich after supporting the Central Saanich Police Service with their investigation,” the statement reads.“Police investigations supersede the investigations performed under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.” The statement does not give any details about the subject and timing of the investigation.
The statement said that the daycare facility remains closed with any consideration of re-opening contingent on the investigation.
“Should it be determined by Licensing staff that the daycare cannot be safely opened under strict oversite conditions, the [medical health officer] has the authority to suspend the license until Licensing staff’s investigation is completed,” it reads. “Licensing staff then make recommendations to the [medical health officer] on what actions they believe should be taken including the possibility of cancelling the daycare license.”
Central Saanich Police have not specified the nature of the “allegations of concerns” against the man. Other key questions also remain unanswered at this stage. They include questions about how long the man has worked at the daycare, the number of children under his care, his duties and whether he has had any prior record.
Central Saanich Chief Constable Les Sylven said earlier he expects a complex investigation based on the number of families, the subject matter, and the requirements of due process.
“I would underscore, it is very upsetting to hear allegations like this,” he said. “We recognize this. Our responsibility as police is to protect the community and at the same time do it in a way that upholds the principle that someone is innocent until proven otherwise.”