A 2-year-old child died Jan. 11 while eating lunch at the Early Learning Center (ELC) at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS).
The child lost consciousness after choking on food just after noon Thursday. Efforts to resuscitate the child by members of the ELC staff and EMS responders were unsuccessful.
NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said the seminary community is saddened by the death and called on members of the immediate community and the larger Southern Baptist community to pray for the child’s family and all those affected by the death.
“Our hearts are overwhelmed with sadness in the loss of one so young. May all of us join together in praying for God’s grace, comfort and strength to minister to this family and all of those affected by this tragic loss,” Kelley said.
The seminary has mobilized grief counselors to speak with staff members, parents and children at the ELC.
The seminary’s Early Learning Center is a licensed child care center through the Louisiana Department of Education, currently enrolling 76 children between the ages of six weeks and age 4.
The ELC opened in 1952 to provide a preschool setting for campus children and to offer a practical setting for training for students in the seminary’s childhood religious education program. At the time, it was only available to the children of seminary students, faculty and staff. The center now cares for children from the surrounding community as well as those with a direct connection to the seminary.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Gary Myers is director of public relations for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.)