David Pienaar
4 minute read
26 Sep 2016
4:34 pm

Concerned parent warns against abusive preschools

David Pienaar

The parent warns other parents and guardians to pick a preschool for their child carefully.

Despite the fact that corporal punishment in South African schools is not allowed, it seems some teachers, even in preschool, administer it regardless.

The Rising Sun Lenasia received a letter from a concerned parent whose child, after their first day in preschool, came back with bruises from spanking and, he now wants to caution guardians picking preschool that instead of being safe havens for children, turn out to be “concentration camps”.

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Below is the letter in full:

“We are writing this letter in order to create awareness among all parents who have their children in preschools. Preschools are supposed to be ”safe havens” for our children during the day when we are at work.

My fiance and I enrolled our son into a preschool and started on Monday, September 12. That Tuesday, the principal said that my son had a rash on his bottom, and she had put bum cream on him. I immediately said: “That’s funny, he doesn’t suffer from rashes, but I will have a look when I get home.” On arriving home, I removed my son’s underpants, only to find that he had bruises on his bottom, which looked like he had been given quite a bad spanking. I took my son back to the preschool on Wednesday, and asked the teacher if the principal was there. The teacher said the principal would be there that afternoon.

I asked the teacher if she was aware of my son receiving a hiding, and she said no. I then asked her if she would please have a look at his bottom and tell me what she thought had caused the bruises. She said she would let me know that afternoon, when I picked up my son. At around noon, I called the principal and asked her if she gave my son a hiding, and she said: “No, I would never do such a thing, I feel so offended that you would think that of me.” She then said that my son had fallen off a swing at school. I asked: “Well then, why did you not tell me this yesterday instead of telling me it’s a rash?” to which she then said: “I only remember now that he fell off the swing.”

We subsequently removed him from the preschool.

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

We took my son to the doctor on Friday and explained to him what happened, and the doctor informed us that we should have taken our son on that Tuesday night when the incident occurred so that he could have written a report on his findings.

However, I showed him the pictures of what my son’s bottom looked like and the doctor confirmed verbally that my son did receive a hiding and that it was not a bruise from a child falling off a swing.

Same noon I received confirmation from a teacher at this particular crèche that two other parents wanted to take their children out of the school, as the management sucked. Apparently the principal had two children stand in corners with chairs on their heads.

The preschool hence had a big staff meeting the following Monday regarding the hitting of the children, and forms were given out to the parents, asking them what they felt would be the appropriate punishment for the children. As far as we are concerned, corporal punishment is not allowed. It’s a crime, no matter what the circumstances.

Unfortunately, as first time parents, we did not know the procedures and could not open up a case for investigation. The doctor explained to us that, as parents, should you suspect your child is being abused at school, you need to go to the police station to get a J88 form to open a case. From the police station, you then need to go to the doctor with this form so that the doctor can complete it and record his findings on it. It will then be taken to court.

Please, as parents, we urge you to make sure that the preschools to which we send our children are safe. Make sure that the preschools have incident report books and that they would contact the parents immediately should their child be hurt. All preschools should have cameras.

Please, interview the principle and teachers, five times if you have to. A preschool should be a loving, peaceful environment for our children to learn and play, not a concentration camp.

– Caxton News Service