2-yr-previous woman dies at Baptist Seminary’s preschool middle in Gentilly


A 2-year-old girl died Thursday (Jan. 11) while eating lunch at the Early Learning Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Gentilly, according to school officials Friday.

The girl lost consciousness after she choked on food just after 12 p.m., according to a statement from seminary spokesman Gary Myers posted at baptistmessage.com. Isabella Magee, 2 years and 4 months old, was identified by the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office Friday as the child who died. The office stated the cause and manner of Isabella’s death remains under investigation.

Myers stated school staff and emergency responders unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate the child. Seminary President Chuck Kelley said in a released statement that the seminary community is “saddened by the death.” He encouraged the entire Southern Baptist community “to pray for the child’s family.”

“Our hearts are overwhelmed with sadness in the loss of one so young. May all of us join together in praying for God’s grace, comfort, and strength to minister to this family and all of those affected by this tragic loss,” Kelley stated.

The seminary is located at 3939 Gentilly Boulevard, and the coroner’s office stated Isabella died in the 4100 block of Providence Street on campus. Myers stated the seminary’s Early Learning Center is a licensed child care center through the Louisiana Department of Education. It currently enrolls 76 children between the ages of six weeks and four years old, he added.

The preschool center opened in 1952 to provide a preschool setting for campus children, Myers stated. The preschool also opened to offer a practical setting for training for students in the seminary’s childhood religious education program, he added.

 

The Early Learning Center of NOBTS received a performance rating of “Approaching Proficient” in the state’s school database. Its 4.21 rating puts it 1.22 points away from the state’s bottom-tier unsatisfactory rating for preschools. The state deemed the school’s responsiveness and sensitivity of the toddler classroom to children’s emotions “proficient,” but the center was deemed “unsatisfactory” for how well the center’s classroom interactions and experiences helped children develop language and learn new concepts.

A review of past inspection visits at the center also displayed prior health concerns. On Dec. 17, a state observer reported that two children were seen with “bumps on the legs,” but an explanation from the parents or the children was not documented. On June 21, an observer noticed a child with “a small scratch on the nose.” Another child was seen with “a scratch on the side of the face,” while another child on June 22  “was observed as having a scab on the forehead.” Explanations for these injuries were not provided to observers, as well.

In another incident that was undated by center officials, an observer stated a child was attempting to stand when he fell against a shelf in the classroom. The report stated…



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