8-month-old Alanah Barba (pictured left) was a student at Donald K. Tucker Childcare Center in Newark when the incident occurred. According to the Daily Mail, her mother, Brittany Barba (also pictured left), who was volunteering in another part of the center, was distraught after being called to the office and informed of the unsanitary incident:
She could have swallowed it, said Barba. And – God forbid for saying it – she could have died.
Pre-school assistants thought that Alanah was chewing on a toy; they were allegedly aghast when they realized that it was a rodent. Though her mouth was quickly washed out with soap and water, Barba feels that the school not only endangered her child, but proved to be negligent by not taking her to the emergency room:
Lately she’s been vomiting, said Barba. Everything she’s eaten, she’s throwing it back up.
Alanah’s relatives believe that the mouse was dead when the baby discovered it and her aunt, Nadyyah Miller, is disgusted by the mere thought of what illnesses she could have contracted:
There’s germs – mice carry disease.
Barba told CNN that she believes the center, which has been visited by the health department, tried to cover up the incident and only agreed to hand over the report once the police became involved. The pre-school’s director, Kiburi Tucker, claims that Alanah’s brief interaction with the mouse occurred during the “split-second” when a caregiver turned away from the child; he expressed his complete remorse over the school’s lapse in safety standards:
[I was] really hurt; It could have been my child.
Tucker says that in addition to implementing a new hygiene procedure, the frequency of pest control visits will be increased. As it stands, an exterminator comes every four months and the pre-school was allegedly sprayed two weeks ago.