Glenshire principal charged with child endangerment
The principal of Glenshire Elementary School in Truckee was charged with misdemeanor child endangerment Thursday after leaving three children, including a 16-month-old infant, unattended in the car while grocery shopping in Tahoe City.
Danny Hyde told sheriff’s deputies that he had left the girls unattended for 10 minutes while he ran into Albertsons.
According to witnesses’ reports the girls were alone in the car for 25 minutes. Tahoe World employee Rhonda Ray noticed the children and told a co-worker to call 911.
“The kids looked hot and they looked like they were sweaty, and they had already been in there at least 20 minutes,” Ray said.
Hyde’s two daughters, who were in the car, are 16 months old and 9 years old. The third girl is 8 years old and a family friend. Paramedics examined the girls and released them back into Hyde’s custody.
Hyde has been charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and sheriffs deputy Dave Hunt said that the matter will be referred to the Placer County District Attorney.
Section 273a(b) of the California Penal Code makes it illegal for “any person to willfully cause or permit a child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health may be in danger.”
On July 24 a 5-month-old baby died of heat exhaustion in San Jose after the father forgot the baby in the car. The temperature was 87 degrees outside and 107 degrees in the car when authorities arrived on the scene. On Tuesday in Tahoe City, the high was 83 degrees outside.
A General Motors sponsored study found that a car exposed to direct sun on a 95 degree day can reach temperatures of 122 degrees within 20 minutes and 150 degrees within 40 minutes. Between 1996 and 2000 120 children died from heat exhaustion in hot vehicles. In California 11 children have died after being left unattended in vehicles so far this year. Fifty-one have died nationwide. The deaths are not all attributable to heat exhaustion, warns Janette Fennell, founder of Kids ‘N Cars. Kids ‘N Cars is a San Francisco based non-profit group that is working to prevent children needlessly dying in vehicles.
“Children are being killed or injured because they’re being left alone in a 3,000-pound lethal weapon known as a car,” said Fennell. “It’s not just heat exhaustion either. There are many other things that happen when kids are left alone in vehicles. They can knock a vehicle into gear, they have died of carbon monoxide poisoning, children are abducted, kids play around with power windows and wind up strangled, or start playing with the cigarette lighter.”
State Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, has sponsored a bill that would impose a $100 fine on any parent leaving a child, under the age of 12, unattended in a vehicle. That bill passed the senate by a vote of 26-10 and is expected to go before the Assembly in the next two weeks.
Hyde has worked in the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District for 24 years. Before being named principal of Glenshire Elementary he was the assistant principal at Truckee Elementary.
Hyde could not be reached for comment Friday.
District superintendent Pat Gemma had not been made aware of the situation and declined to comment until after he had spoken with Hyde. School board president Karen Van Epps declined to comment on the same grounds.
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