In an initial hearing in Starkville Municipal Court Monday, the trial date for a former First Baptist Church Creative Learning Center child care provider was moved to Sept. 20.
Dianna Lynn Covin, 52, of 134 Josey Ave., faces two counts of felony child abuse after she was arrested June 6. Police charged Covin with intentionally administering muscle relaxants to two infants on May 17. The infants, who were 7 and 4 months old at the time of the incident, received emergency medical treatment as a result of ingesting the drugs.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Tinzanidine is used to relieve spasms and increased muscle tone caused by multiple sclerosis.
Information contained in two affidavits alleges she placed portions of the drug directly into the infants’ mouths “for the express purpose of keeping (them) quiet.”
The Creative Learning Center is a full-time child care facility located at First Baptist Church Starkville and is licensed by the Mississippi Department of Health.
Covin, who was employed with CLC for nearly 10 years, had no previous arrests. CLC Executive Director Karen Graham said Covin was placed on administrative leave on May 18 and was terminated May 21. Graham said she immediately reported the matter to the department of health when she was told what happened.
After the arrest, Graham said in a statement that the CLC family was “shocked and broken hearted to learn of the breach of trust by a former employee.”
“We are committed to providing quality care for young children and families in our community, while educating them in a loving Christian environment by qualified well-trained teachers and caregivers,” she said. “Consistent with our established procedures and licensing obligations, we alerted state authorities at the first instant we obtained knowledge of a possible concern, and we immediately removed the former employee from all contact with children at CLC pending a more thorough investigation.
“Since that time, we have combed our records, talked with our staff and terminated the individual involved,” Graham added. “We are working with authorities in their ongoing investigation of this individual. I have been in touch with each of the families involved to communicate our ongoing actions and support.”
Graham said the organization holds the health and safety of children sacred.