PLEASANTON -- A former Pleasanton preschool teacher accused of taping the hands and feet of a 2-year-old in her care, has been permanently barred by the state from working in child care in California.
The teacher, Angela Calcagno, has 15 days to appeal the order, which cites a "threat to the health and safety" of those in her care. Calcagno, 25, whose last known residence was in Livermore, could not be reached for comment.
The state's regulating body for licensing child care, the Community Care Licensing division, issued the order Monday after substantiating claims that Calcagno had bound a 2-year-old girl with masking tape at the Centerpointe Christian Preschool when the girl refused to nap.
Social Services spokesman Michael Weston said the state found a personal rights violation for which the school was cited.
"The department is taking action," Weston said.
Church officials told members on Sunday about the incident, which they said came to light at a March 1 gathering of current and former employees. At the gathering, Calcagno allegedly shared a photo of the child with teachers, including with the girl's mother, who reported it to police.
Tim Hunt, an elder of the Pleasanton church, said Calcagno had been with the school since 2008 and voluntarily resigned earlier this year. The church, he said, doesn't know when the incident occurred and didn't know of it until March.
"We were stunned," he said. "Nothing like this has ever happened before ... Frankly we own it; it happened on our watch. We're deeply grieved by it."
A Dublin parent, who would only identify herself as Amber because her children attend the school, said Tuesday that they have been at Centerpointe for three years but that she will look elsewhere. The latest incident, she said, isn't the only reason.
"I'm more upset about the seven teachers who have quit in the last three weeks," she said. "Had those teachers been here, I would still be comfortable bringing my kids here ... There's something more to this than it seems," she speculated.
Hunt said there are 25 staff members, but since Feb. 10 the director and seven teachers have resigned and the school is recruiting replacements.
"There have been a number of resignations," Hunt said. "Delving into why they left is something we can't do for confidentiality reasons."
Besides a horde of media attention, the preschool operated as usual Tuesday morning.
Parent Jeffery Chang of Pleasanton, who has a 4-year-old there, said he doesn't know if the taping incident was done in a "strict or playful" manner but hopes it will set guidelines for future teacher conduct.
"When something happens like that, as a parent you raise your eyebrow and say, 'It can't be.' It's unbelievable," Chang said. "But I'm glad the church is stepping up ... We'll get through this difficult time."
Hunt said the church notified Community Care Licensing of the incident shortly after becoming aware of it. The division issued a Class A citation to the school March 7.
According to Social Services department spokesman Weston, Centerpointe has received five Class A violations -- violations directly affecting the health and safety of children in care -- and two lesser Class B violations since October. Weston said the agency is looking into the compliance issues and developing a plan of correction.
"In this case, you have a facility that has an issue with compliance, and right now the department is working with the facility regarding the issues as part of the investigation and ongoing enforcement," Weston said.
He added the department could take further action against Centerpointe, including a temporary shutdown, a license revocation, or ordering a noncompliance conference with school officials.
Pleasanton police began a criminal investigation into the case, but Sgt. Kurt Schlehuber refused to speculate Tuesday how long it may take to complete.
"We still have a lot of people to interview, a lot of witnesses who have come forward," he said. "We believe it's an isolated incident. The preschool has been entirely cooperative and has done all we've asked. They are as concerned as we are."
Hunt said school operations will be suspended for five days for staff training, and procedural and program reviews, resuming March 20.
"Work will be done top-to-bottom to retrain everybody," Hunt said. "We want to reopen fresh and move ahead."
Staff writer Rick Hurd contributed to this story. Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.