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Jonesboro daycare center loses license

The state has pulled the license of a Jonesboro daycare center where a 2-year-old died after being left in a hot van following a field trip, according to a report filed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

Jazmin Green, 2, was left strapped inside a car seat in the van for several hours, June 20, before being discovered by workers at Marlo's Magnificent Early Learning Center, police said.

Owner Marlo Fallings and her daughter, Quantabia Hopkins, are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the toddler's death.

A 16-year-old staff member was also charged, and disposed of her case in Clayton County Juvenile Court. Judge Steven Teske sentenced her to probation and community service, including an order to construct a memorial to the toddler's memory.

"I don't know what form her memorial will take; it could be a drawing or sculpture or painting," said Teske. "I don't want to limit her creativity."

The state's month-long investigation ended July 22 with the decision to revoke the center's license. The report alleges that the center violated 10 rules governing the operation of daycare facilities, and specifically puts the blame for the child's death on the staff's failure to abide by those rules.

"It is determined that serious rule violations occurred, which seriously affected the health and safety in care, and demonstrated reckless disregard for the physical and mental health and safety of the children in care," states the report. "Specifically, on June 20, 2011, a 2-year-old child was left in the center vehicle following a field trip for an undetermined amount of time, between two and three hours. It was determined that the child died as a result of this incident."

The center was cited in March for a similar violation, although no child was reported hurt, records show. The staff attended a training session offered by Bright from the Start, weeks later, that included a review of requirements for transportation and supervision of children and taking children on field trips. Bright from the Start is the state agency governing child care and early education centers.

Green's mother, April McAlister, filed a wrongful death suit against Fallings and Hopkins a week after the toddler died. McAlister seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial. Fallings and Hopkins have maintained their innocence.