Warning: Graphic content
Parents have a right to know more about what happened at an Auckland kindergarten after a disabled boy suffered nasty facial injuries in a reported fall down stairs, a National MP says.
Four-year-old Masua Tusa's mum only discovered her son - who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair - had been injured when she arrived at Manurewa West Kindergarten last Wednesday to pick him up.
Masua's left eye was closed, his nose still bleeding and the wounds on his face raw and painful where deep grazes had scratched the skin off his face.
The sight of him reduced mum Milly Tusa to tears.
Police and the Ministry of Education are now investigating, while the family say they are also seeking answers.
The Ministry also visited Manurewa West Kindergarten on Friday and reviewed it for immediate safety hazards, saying it was satisfied it was safe for children to attend.
But National Party Early Childhood Education spokeswoman Nicola Willis said parents urgently needed to know more about what happened.
"My question is how can parents be assured its safe when the police and Ministry of Education haven't concluded their investigations," she said.
The Tusa family say kindergarten staff told them Masua fell down stairs while in his wheelchair.
Yet they felt staff weren't telling them the whole story and seemed unable to properly explain how he fell down stairs if he was being properly monitored.
Willis said the incident was "incredibly disturbing".
"The reaction I've had from so many parents is saying that, 'if that were my child I would be so upset. What is going on here'," Willis said.
"And I can't answer that question right now, I don't know what is going on here."
"But we should know because most early childhood services do a great job and are safe but when things like this happen, we have to see a rapid response."
The Government had to urgently answer questions, such as on what basis is the Ministry of Education offering assurances that children were safe at the kindergarten, Willis said.
Parents needed to know if there had been adequate supervision of Masua, whether all laws were being followed and had there been previous incidents at the kindy, she said.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins didn't provide comment.
The Ministry of Education's deputy secretary Sector Enablement and Support Katrina Casey said the ministry was completing a thorough investigation.
"The safety and wellbeing of children is the top priority for us all and we understand how distressing this has been for the family," she said.
"We are trying to make contact and are available, should they wish to contact us directly."
A Teaching Council spokeswoman said the council was aware of "an incident at Manurewa West Kindergarten and that it involved a registered teacher" but couldn't comment further.
"Generally speaking, our process is to wait until police investigations into a matter are complete and receipt of a complaint or mandatory report of a teacher's misconduct before beginning an investigation of our own," she said.
Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association told Willis it took the incident "very seriously" but couldn't discuss it while it was still under investigation.
"The Ministry of Education has been to the kindergarten and reviewed the site for immediate safety issues and are satisfied that children are safe to attend the centre," it said.
A staff member at the kindy, who asked not to be named, previously told the Herald they were taking the matter "very seriously'' and had let the necessary people know about the situation.
"We're working with our head office and we're also working with the Ministry of Education, as well, to make sure that they know that we worked hard to try and do everything that we could for him.
"And that we were supervising him at the time."
The woman said they had tried to contact Masua's mother, but only had one contact number for her.
Asked whether she was at the kindergarten when the incident happened, she said: "Unfortunately - I'm sorry - I'm not going to go into any of that because it's still being investigated by the Ministry of Education."
Masua's family earlier said they went back to the kindergarten the next day to ask them again what had happened, but the staff member seemed to "struggle" to tell her story and answer the questions put to her.
Masua himself cannot talk well enough to say what happened.
The only thing he repeated every time he was asked about the incident was "teacher, teacher".