KXLY 4 News investigates complaints made against local private school
SPOKANE, Wash. — As the school year winds down, you might start thinking about plans for school and childcare next fall.
It’s a big deal, choosing the right school, and something you put a lot of energy and research into. It’s a decision want to do your homework on.
Recently, KXLY 4 News was contacted by a mother who thought she did just that. She’d enrolled her child at the Windsong School in Spokane after seeing glowing reviews online, only to pull her child shortly after.
This mother did not want to appear on camera, but she shared her story as she wanted to warn other parents out there.
When KXLY began to research the school, several, similar complaints were found to be made against the school in the last two years, but you might not see them in a simple internet search.
Type “Windsong School” in to Google and the gold stars appear. Click on a link and the positive reviews pour in.
On the Great Schools website one parent writes, “Windsong is a breath of fresh air, literally.”
Another parent said, “our whole family is better because of this school.”
But, not every parent feels this way. One website that doesn’t pop up in that initial search is the one for the Washington Department of Early Learning, which paints a different picture.
No reviews, just public records; inspection reports and complaints.
Under complaints, it shows the DEL recently investigated reports of two children between the ages of three and six who wandered off school property for twenty minutes and returned to the school on their own. The school never reported this incident to DEL or police, even when the children were missing.
It’s something one parent told us was enough to pull her child from the school. She says she wishes she knew what was publicly available about any licensed school and childcare center in the state.
By contacting the Department of Early Learning, KXLY found it can be as simple as going to their website and clicking on the Child Care Check tab. There, you can type in the school and get a list of any complaints made, the decisions on them, the licensing history and staff information.
If you want to go even further, file a public records request. That’s what KXLY did to find out more about the Windsong School.
A 2016 complaint alleged that a five-year old student was inappropriately touching girls during nap time. The state found the supervision by the school was adequate and couldn’t have prevented it, but that the school failed to report the touching, as required by state law.
Another complaint alleged a kindergarten student was isolated from his classmates during nap time; walking outside with a staff member and made to carry a weighted backpack.
That staff member said she was told to not engage the child even if they were alone together for hours.
The state warned it’s a form of bullying and humiliating discipline, specifically forbidden by state law.The school is now disputing these claims.
Several parents hired a lawyer to look into this and the way the school responded to other complaints. After the DEL investigated, Windsong decided in January to drop their license to operate a childcare center and instead supervise children as a part-time classroom; that means they’re exempt from state licensing requirements.
All information publicly available, but something you may have to dig for if you want to be sure about anyone you trust to watch your children.
The Windsong School is still operating as usual for kindergarten through sixth grade. KXLY reached out to them as soon as we started looking into this story. The school denies any wrongdoing and said in a statement:
“A group of former Windsong families have demanded monetary settlement based on allegations that have since been addressed with the help of our state licensor and/or determined unfounded by the department of social and health services. These families threatened to complain to regulatory agencies and the news media if we refused to settle, and they have been consistent in their threats. Windsong school takes these allegations very seriously and always holds the health and safety of our students above all. As the privacy of the families and their children is involved in this issue, we cannot comment further.”
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