Kiddie Junction, an infant and child daycare facility taking residence in Des Plaines, Illinois, has found itself at the center of controversy following a recent police report alleging that three employees had distributed gummy candies containing melatonin to children as young as two years of age.
Management members of Kiddie Junction were the first to report such misconduct after finding that one of the center’s “teachers” – as the daycare company refers to its care takers – had given those melatonin supplements to select students, particularly those that were often rambunctious and full of energy around scheduled nap time.
Although melatonin isn’t a prescribed medication that’s protected by the Controlled Substances Act – legislature that makes drugs ranging from heroin to cannabis to testosterone illegal, the latter two of which can be obtained in certain cases via prescription from legitimate doctors and other healthcare professionals – none of the affected children’s parents had asked for their kids to be treated with melatonin, and had certainly not been informed that anyone at the facility had ever or would ever provide such supplements to children.
Christopher Mierzwa, the police Commander of the police department in Des Plains, Illinois, suggested that “You can’t distribute that without the parents being told. The teachers didn’t know if the child was allergic to melatonin.”
Mierzwa and fellow police officers felt it was necessary to reach out to the parents of every child present at the day care, including those who had attended the day care in the past year, if not longer, even if they weren’t present when the gummy candies that contained melatonin were distributed to those young children.
The three teachers of Kiddie Junction that are charged with crimes stemming directly from the provision of such supplements to children whose parents didn’t permit such distribution are:
- Ashley Helfenbein of Chicago, Illinois – Currently 25 years of age; Female
- Jessica Heyse, also of Chicago, Illinois – Currently 19 years old. Just like Ashley Helfenbein, Jessica Heyse also hails from Chicago.
- Kristen Lauletta, 32 years of age, takes residence in Niles, Illinois.
After authorities present at the scene had called the state attorney’s office in Cook County, home of Chicago, the Windy City, to make sure counts they were charged with were appropriate.
All three were given two counts of endangering the life or health of a child, along with two counts of battery.