By NATHAN GREGORY
A former child care provider for the First Baptist Church Creative Learning Center will stand trial in Starkville Municipal Court today at 2 p.m. on two counts of felony child abuse.
Dianna Lynn Covin, 52, of 134 Josey Ave., faces charges of administering the muscle relaxant Tinzanidine on May 17 to two infants who were 7 and 4 months old at the time. She was arrested June 6 and originally appeared in court July 2, after which Judge Rodney Faver complied with her lawyer’s request to move the date.
Information in two affidavits states that Covin allegedly placed portions of the drug directly into the infants’ mouths “for the express purpose of keeping (them) quiet.” The infants received emergency medical treatment after they had ingested the muscle relaxants.
Covin, who worked for CLC for nearly 10 years, was placed on administrative leave on May 18 before her employment was terminated May 21. She had no previous arrests.
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.
CLC Executive Director Karen Graham said she immediately reported the matter to MDH when she was informed of what happened and 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.