Harrodsburg mother says arrest at school was a mistake

HARRODSBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - A mother charged by police with endangering her child says the incident was a mistake and has been blown out of proportion.

Friday afternoon Harrodsburg police were called to Mercer County Elementary School after a child was found alone in a car. Tonya Barnard, the child's mother, says what happened next was a big misunderstanding, one that led to her being arrested.

"My own pastor, he's just like, 'This too shall pass,'" Barnard said Tuesday morning.

She says the past few days have been tough ones. Her problems started when she was running errands with her young daughter in the car.

"At each of those places I had gotten my child out, took her in with me." She said. "I then went to the elementary school, she had just fallen asleep."

According to her arrest citation once Barnard walked into the school at 12:25p.m, someone called police, because her 2-year-old daughter was left in the car.

"She's one of those kids that's a bear, if you wake her up early from a nap she's gonna be a bear," Barnard said.

When she returned to her car she found her was daughter gone. The arrest citation says she went into the school's office at 1:05p.m. School workers told her police had been called.

Police say they found an open alcohol container in Barnard's car. They gave her a breathalyzer test, and the results came back below the legal limit.

Barnard says the alcohol in her system was from the night before.

"We were at home, after our kids were in the bed asleep. I had bathed them, I had read to them, I had done homework with them, I had packed their lunches, I had laid out their clothes, everyone was tucked in."

She says that alcoholic container was old and had been left in the car. Barnard spent the night in jail before bonding out.

"I do crafts with my kids, I volunteer at school, I take candy," she said. "I just feel like this was all a nightmare, and I'm still waiting to wake up."

Barnard is currently the head coach of the Mercer County High School cheerleading team. The Mercer County School System wouldn't comment on the case. Their public relations director said it was because of their confidentiality policies.
Barnard was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.