CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Ballantyne school where a teacher forcibly fondled multiple children has had their license suspended by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and must close their business by the end of Thursday.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education issued a suspension action Thursday against Primrose School of Ballantyne. According to the suspension statement, the action requires the school to close its doors at the end of Thursday's business day.

"The summary suspension is based upon school management's failure to notify staff that a teacher was accused of inappropriately touching a child while working at the facility," the statement said.

Primrose School Franchising Company announced Thursday evening that it will be terminating its franchise agreement with the school.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the students and their families at this time," said Primrose School Franchising Company CEO Jo Kirchner in a statement. "These incidents are the kind that no parent should ever face. We take these allegations very seriously."

The Press Assistant for N.C. Department of Health and Human Services issued the statement which also said although the school's officials had been informed of the allegations against 36-year-old Joseph Starnes, they did not prevent him from caring for children on March 7.

"Administration failed to ensure a safe environment for children by allowing the teacher to have access to children after being informed of the inappropriate touching," the statement said.

This is not the state's first time issuing 'administrative actions' against Primrose School of Ballantyne. The department had previously issued two prior actions involving the school's noncompliance with state child care requirements.

Primrose School of Ballantyne is licensed to serve up to 186 children up to age 12.

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