Child Care, Child Abuse – Spot the Contradiction

No doubt any parent with a heart would have reeled in shock over last Friday’s alleged child abuse incident at the Toa Payoh branch of NTUC My First Skool. A three-year-old boy sustains a leg fracture after what the school claimed was a “fall”, only to have the parent’s discover through reviewing CCTV footage that something else entirely happened.

cc-abuse

My own first reaction, however, can be summed up with 3 simple words: stupid, stupid, brash.

The First Stupid

How did the entire staff not know there was a security camera installed? For the childcare teacher (who has since been arrested) to blatantly carry out the act of abuse in full view of the CCTV, and for the other staff members in the classroom to remain passive to the incident, is just plain and utter stupidity. But more than that, it speaks of a far greater issue of how they managed to get into the childcare centre as staff in the first place. As much as The Blogfather tries to imagine, I can find no single opportunity throughout the entire hypothesis leading to this incident where brains have been actively applied.

The Second Stupid

This one would take prior experience to know: most, if not all, commercial establishments have a very strict policy of only releasing CCTV footage of their own premises to the relevant authorities for investigative purposes. One of the very first questions I had when I saw the video go public was, why did the childcare centre management allow the parent’s in question to record the footage in the first place?

This is an important point because any misuse of the video evidence may impede on investigations, and should there be a court case (and here, the arrest of the teacher would have made this a criminal case), affect the decision of the court – and not always in favour of the victim.

The Brashness

Screencap from CNA interview with the victim's father
Screencap from CNA interview with the victim’s father

This is the iffy one. A thinking person would hesitate before sharing this over social media, because the virality of its content is guaranteed. If the intention was to attain justice from the eyes of the public, then congratulations, you’ve got the public all riled up. But are the boy’s parents prepared for the backlash?

The preschool educators have all been in a tizzy over the incident. Some of these educators even go so far as to blame the parents, either citing insufficient information, or making assumptions about the child being naughty (ridiculous) or the parents being out to make a buck out of this (even more ridiculous). And as quickly as these comments are made in the educators’ respective online message boards, they are removed for decency sake. I would say the commentary qualify for a third Stupid, except for one thing that explains their reaction to this incident.

The entire profession is now feeling vulnerable, and afraid. Their reactions are defensive, but they are not trying to protect one of their own, the one who erred. They are wondering what’s going to happen to themselves now that this has happened. And to be honest, no one knows (neither the school, nor the parents) what ripples this incident will effect?now that the government is fully involved.

If parents have the autonomy to unleash such fury against not just one teacher now, but an entire profession, through sharing a story that, for all that it speaks of, has yet to be assessed in a court of law, how safe would any educator feel at this point? In just 3 days, I’m already feeling like the preschool sector – a sector sorely in need of a boost in manpower, among other factors – has taken a brutal hit for the sins of one of its members.

But as a dad, under the circumstances, amidst the anger and the feeling of betrayal that a professional outfit I trusted to give care to my child would treat my child this way, would I have done the same?

I can only say, my heart goes out to the parents of the child for having to go through this ordeal.

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