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State revokes Somerset preschool’s certification

September 21, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has revoked the compliance certificate of Learning Links Preschool in Somerset Township.

The center’s owner and operator, Teryll Gribble, 51, Rani Way, was notified by letter about violations stemming from a “complaint inspection” on July 25 and a follow-up, unannounced five-day monitoring inspection in late July. The letter was mailed Sept. 13.

The revocation is based on the center’s “failure to comply with the Human Services Code and the Department’s regulations . . . and gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct in the operation of a child care program,” Suzann Morris, deputy secretary of the department’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning, wrote in the letter.

The state’s action would effectively close the preschool unless Gribble appeals the decision. A call to her attorney, Randall Ricciuti of Pittsburgh, asking if she plans to appeal was not returned. She has 30 days to file an appeal from the mailing date of the letter.

“If you appeal the Department’s action you may, in the absence of further action by the Department, continue to operate the facility pending the outcome of the appeal,” Morris wrote.

Gribble has 15 days from the mailing date of the letter to submit “acceptable plans” to correct the violations, according to the letter.

On July 25, a department representative conducted a complaint inspection of the facility concerning allegations that a staff member was giving children melatonin when they were not authorized to be receiving the sleep aid medication.

Gribble and her mother, Lorraine Sue Gribble, 71, an employee of the center, are both facing criminal charges based on the allegations.

During the inspection, a staff member, who is not named in the letter, admitted to putting melatonin in the lunch sandwiches of two children beginning in late April or early May without written consent from the parents, according to Morris.

While at the preschool, the state representative saw bottles of identified medicine but not the name of the child for whom the medicine was intended. Furthermore, the staff did not establish a medication log for Tylenol or an EpiPen, and did not have written instructions for the EpiPen, both violations, Morris wrote.

The human services code prohibits the operation of a child care facility without a compliance certificate from the department.

“Any person operating a child care facility without the required certificate of compliance commits a criminal offense and may be subject to a fine of up to $300 for each day of operating without a certificate of compliance,” Morris wrote.

The preschool is required to post the letter next to its certificate in a conspicuous location used by parents. The center is also required to provide a regional manager with the names of children enrolled in the facility along with their parents’ names and addresses.

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