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Child Rights


Be Careful In Selecting An Early Childhood Center For Your Children’s Care! They may look good on the outside — on the skin level. Yet many are rotten to the core!

Recently I learned from TV channel seven news reports that 10,000 of the 70,000 early child care centers in Massachusetts, USA are under intense investigation at any given time by the state licensing agency, DEEC known as Department of Early Education and Care – Mass.Gov. (Most of the time, violations are written up by the school’s licensor — violations like staff to child ratio infractions, inadequate cleanliness habits, unsafe conduct on the playground, etc. So most are not investigated beyond that point, but are looked at to see improvements at the next visit by the licensor.Were corrections made in the intervening time?)

In other words, only the very worst ones get further inspected by the state licensing agency on an immediate basis and a one to seven ratio of prompt investigatory action is alarming! It points to too many utterly deplorable schools that have alarming infractions harming children!

In the news reports, it was explained that DEEC has a very limited staff and cannot ever process all of the 10.000 violations — just the most troublesome, emergency-level, worst ones at any given time. To even tabulate 10,000 is impossible given a meager staff at the agency. So the brunt of these serious infractions wait in permanent abeyance and never do get assessed and addressed for needed corrections.

Two examples in the TV news reports were given of being the most terrible sorts that get swift action. One was the DEEC licensor finding many — over twenty — dead mice in various states of decomposition under the refrigerator wherein children’s lunches were kept. Apparently the school abounded in mice and mice feces in every room in which the young children played, sat on rugs, picked up items into their mouths to orally explore and crawled. What diseases might abound there! Do you want your child possibly eating mouse bowel movements?

The second incident involved a child falling or jumping out of wagon being pulled by a teacher on a sidewalk. She got back to the school after the outing and didn’t even notice that a child was missing — a child found some time later by strangers while the youngster was wandering in the the streets and almost hit by cars. How would you feel if this tyke were your child?

I know of another one that happened at a school near me — a school wherein a fed-up, frustrated teacher put duct tape over a toddler’s mouth to shut him up. The teacher doing this action was, obviously, beside herself about whatever to do and  was inadequately trained in child management. (The same action happened in Washington state, USA to my nephew!)

Can you imagine the painful trauma to a young child to have duct tape ripped off of his mouth and taking skin away in the prcess? My sister does and it leaves a life-time emotional scar on the child to be taped and have the tape painfully removed.

(I DO trust my sister’s description of the process. Simply jaw-dropping horrible!)

 

Unfortunately serious malpractices in early child care centers are common. One wonders about how many are simply not reported — ones beyond the 10,000, actually, found at any given point in my state of MA.

It infuriates me since these children are taking over the world to be the next generation in charge of it. So instead of teaching them to be their best selves, we teach them to shut up and when they don’t, we manually make sure that they don’t talk, don’t express? We teach intimidation and obedience, instead? What sorts of humans as educators do we want to help create? What sort of broken beings do we want to form into creation?

What sort of people let children amongst mouse feces? What sort of people can’t keep track of children in a wagon even if it’s as simple as counting them before take-off and doing the same upon return to the school?

 

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Here are some personal events that I have witnessed. If I had a young child knowing what I know, I would certainly be leery when inspecting schools for my child to attend.There is simply too much corruption and it’s level of deep wrong is mind-boggling unless one is extremely emotionally hardened.

School one: The educational director of the school came to me and said that one of the two owners of the school told her that I MUST fill out the form that was faxed to the director. She passed the mentioned paper to me.

It was a federal document stating that I was to include identification information, such as my name and address. It stated that I had not been employed for the last twelve months and that I was under perjury of federal laws if I sign it with wrongful information.

What rubbish. I had been employed up until the point that I took the new job at this school. So I signed it as mandated by the owner.

However, I crossed out the word “not” as in “was not employed” and listed contact information about where I had been working up until that point in the blank space beneath. (Why should I be forced to lie in a federal document despite requested to do so? No way! Yeah, why should I risk going to jail for purjury in a federal document despite being directed to do so by someone, who can fire me?)

When my accurate response with my signature attached was faxed back, the owner called the school director. She was annoyed, but laughing at my way around her directives.

She found me amusing and creative to do what she asked and, simultaneously, not do so. So she let my response stand as is rather than force the issue with me. (Perhaps she’d deduced that I was unmovable to reform, which is the truth.)

Hey, let’s get real. I have no problem with lying since I have a sliding scale of values. Here’s the way that this sort of matter goes:

Preserving life is more important than telling truth. Examples: I’d have lied to Nazis and told them that Jews were pigs if they came knocking at my door to ask if I knew where any were lurking and hiding.

Meanwhile, I’d know that some were hiding in my basement crawl spaces … and I’d continue to shelter, feed and otherwise tend them while knowing if caught, I, along with them, would be thrown alive and conscious into a bonfire or an oven.

Were a gang of teen thieves chasing down an frail elderly woman leaving a bank with money that one one their gang members watched her extract from the bank, I’d redirect them down the street if they asked where she went while knowing that she was hiding behind a dumpster behind me.

Further I’d defend her with my life if push were to come to shove with the hooligans were they to find her there. … Ha, watch me go at it if need be and I don’t mean by my running away.

So this school owner thinks, given my predilections and values, that she can induce or cow(ard) me? She imagines that I’m someone intimidated by authority, to sign a lying declaration? Ha-ha — good luck with that since my lies are always only carefully calculated to serve my ethical considerations.

Sheer force and mandated directives don’t work in other words. Yeah, good luck with that as a method with me since moral imperative supersedes everything else and has done so since I was a five year old and realized that I have to stand in disobedience against the norms!

(When I was five years old, there was a turning point in my life. It happened upon seeing Hiroshima Maidens in NY for reconstructive surgery. Pitiful, innocent humans simply in the wrong place at the wrong time they were and if it could happen to them, guess what — anyone could be a target, including yourself and people who you love. … That was my thinking at such a young age when I gasped in horror at their broken and tortured states of being.)

 

The next day after I turned in my factually accurate sheet, I saw a young Japanese woman at the school crying in the hallway. I didn’t know who she was, but seeing someone uncontrollably crying concerned me.

So I went up to her and touched her shoulder in a compassionate way. Simultaneously I said that I would like to help her and, so, stated, “I’m sorry that you are sad. How could I help you?”

In turn, she responded that she’d signed a paper saying that she had not worked prior to being employed by the school as a floater-teacher going from school to school as a substitute teacher for the owner. She added that it was protocol to obey your company directors in Japan as they and workers mutually protect and support each other.
How great a pattern it is, but this sort of mutual consideration doesn’t routinely happen here in the USA. So here in the USA her Green Card would be pulled and she’d be sent back to Japan if not jailed in the USA once her perjured response on the document were compared against her IRS tax records. Pitiful!

It’s not her fault that she weren’t trained to have my nerve to stand in disobedience, and I never knew whether she got sent to prison, fined or sent back to Japan. All I could say to her was to stay strong in the face of a terrible dilemma that terrified her and which she was facing. Then I went to my own classroom since it was time to do so. (She had been assigned to another class — not mine.)

Meanwhile, the owners got $400.00 per person, who had not been supposedly employed for a year as a federal government stimulus package. Wrongful illegal enrichment! … My only comfort in the matter is that I’d personally stood firm against it while others hadn’t and much to their peril, apparently.

This same owner charged a family on their credit card for their child, who’d been withdrawn from the school for up to a month before-hand. Ah, if she’d only limited her greed to a couple of weeks, she’d have not been caught and wouldn’t have needed to pretend that it was an oversight on her part.

 

At the same school, I watched the other co-owner stir baby food with his bear hand without washing his hand before touching the food, neglect to put his shoes back on when going down the hall to other classrooms from the baby room after which he’d reenter the baby room — a direct violation of sanitation standards imposed by the state of MA EEC standards. So he contaminated babies crawling on the rug. So what is the point of sanitation regulations when not followed?

His lover refused gloves and would change baby after baby on a changing table without washing his bare hands and without sanitizing the table and not following the school’s mandated directives devised by DEEC. He was also not first aid and CPR certified. Yet he served as a teacher.

How amok! He had no early childhood training, indeed. So what is he doing in a two year old classroom serving as the second teacher while talking on his cell phone with back turned away from a child climbing  a rod jungle gym, and who fell off several feet below the mat below when he got unsteady?

Moreover, the school’s director was told to leave the co-owner’s lover alone and it was this director’s last job as a certified director. Oh – she was fired for properly doing her job, especially since she didn’t like that teachers were forced in a half hour before being paid to set up snacks, empty a dish washer, and due to her fighting all of the rest of the violations that this school had and of which parents of children there were unaware.

 

In the end, the director’s stance was her attempt to adhere to legally devised child care standards, protection of children and service to the teachers. So she got out of a job on account.

Yeah — a great place — one in which a canopy was rented to provide shade on the playground and was promptly removed and returned to the rental company after the DEEC licensor was done checking out the school. Such a ruse — just one of many!

 

School two: I got yelled at by the owner for calling her at six a.m. (the time told to teachers to share that they would be absent) to state that I had Conjunctivitis, ringworm and a virus — all contracted at the school by students there, but they hit me in a triple whammy. She was furious when I said that I was going to my MD to seek treatment the same day as soon as he could see me rather than come to school.

She replied that she refused to take over my class for me since she hates children. (She’d inherited the school from her mother.) So she commanded me to slap on a big bandage on the large ringworm sight under my chin, wear sunglasses to hide my red eyes condition and try not to cough on children with the virus symptoms so as to not spread the respiratory virus actually contracted at her school. (Yeah, she cares about my personal well-being, right?)

She also screamed at me over the phone that I had no loyalty to her like a prior teacher with pneumonia who came in while severely sick despite the gal’s orders from her MD to stay in bed or risk death. She likewise said I was deficient and defiant in that way since I had no caring that she’d have to cover my class in my absence. How caring is that, she asked.

Nonetheless, I stood firm to take care of my health rather than convenience her in light of her hatred of children. So at my doctor’s office that day I learned that I would have been in CDC (Center for Disease Control) legal violation for having gone to my school that day given my three highly contagious diseases.

At this same school, I was left alone with thirty-two children aged three to six with a semi-blind assistant teacher in her seventies, who was so “out of it” that she dropped loose medical pills out of  her purse. … I found them the next morning when inspecting my classroom.

To handle the situation, I shut many of the playground centers and drew them — all thirty-two of them — close to me in the sandpit area. it looked like a mob scene there.

 

Yet, what would have happened if a child had gotten injured far away from my location? What, concerning the pills, had a kid picked them up and had ingested them while imagining that they were candy? You guess.

My daughter and I bought hundreds of dollars of basic school supplies for this school since the owner wouldn’t dish them out. I mean fundamental items like construction paper, finger paint, clay and pencils.

In ironic humor, an assistant teacher from another classroom came to me to ask for more green paper for a springtime mural that the class was creating since the school had run out of MY pile of green paper that I’d put into the common supply shelf. So I suggested that the children paint any color of my donated paper with the green paint that I’d supplied.

Oops, it had also run out. So another teacher suggested mixing my supplied blue and yellow paint to make green … except that it was discovered in the supply closet that MY blue paint had been used to extinction.

Oh well. Out of my meager salary, I suppose that I was expected to buy more for the sake of the children. The owner, certainly, wouldn’t due to her underlying greed — some sort of mental malfunction to serve only herself.

Ironically, the wealthy school owner asked me later that day about whether I had more green paper at home. If so, she commanded me to bring it into school.

This is a woman, who charged two dollars a child for a slice of pizza on Fridays. Many of the kids’ parents couldn’t come up with that paltry amount and their children were subsidized by the state of MA to attend school. (Yes, their parents were so tight financially that they couldn’t afford the pitiful sum of two dollars.)

So I gave these crying denied kids, who’d brought lunches from home on Fridays, my own allotment of pizza after they finished their lunches from home. I simply couldn’t stand their grief and being discriminated against for lock of monetary resources from home.

The owner would collect around $70.00 USD per week for such a plan and only spend around $30.00 on the pizza. She’d also spend some of the pizza money to get herself food delivered from the same pizza delivery store — some sort of antipasto salad. So all in all, she made around $40.00 a week.

It’s quite a gain considering that there are fifty-two weeks in the year. Do the math. Multiply and you’ll see my gist — forty dollars times fifty-two.

The owner/director also pretended that at least one student in her school was eligible to be a MA voucher child simply to get the child assigned to her school even though financially the child WAS NOT eligible. She was in collusion with the parents about this matter. How’s that for a financially gaining deceit?

 

There’s even more seriously wrong at this particular school and of which some of them are illegal according to MA state and federal laws. So it goes.

Something is seriously wrong with schools that force qualified,dedicated, talented teachers to look in other fields for work and force qualified, dedicated, talented directors (concerning which I know three) to leave the educational field in droves. It’s like rats leaving a sinking ship, I suppose. How sad for our children!

 

Bad Schools, Part Two!

Many of the schools in the USA are deplorable. I wrote about some of them in a prior essay, “Bad Schools Part One!” Yet I’m not done in describing the diversity of wrongs.

Only when one stands apart from the norms that they represent can the serious infractions begin to be corrected. Otherwise put, there is no need to accept appalling conditions and they need to be, first off, exposed to be corrected. This is the first step to changing unacceptable patterns. So I strive to expose.

Yes, the infractions have to shown first. They need to be seen and evaluated for what they are so as to raise standards for the benefit of us all. So let’s move onto other schools beyond the prior ones already described in my last essay.

 

School three: When you’d need to briefly use the bathroom, you’d knock on the director’s office door and politely ask whether she could cover your classroom for a few minutes. Her response was always the same: a look of anger and disgust and a comment about greatly inconveniencing her. Then she’d yell “Are you done yet?” This would be at the moment that you were starting to unzip your pants — around thirty seconds later after the door knock while you were in the bathroom.

This same director would physically hold down with deep fury on her face a crying resistant child at nap time, insist that you take your break time for lunch in the classroom, and remind you that the devil is everywhere and, so, there are to be no mention of witches, ghosts and goblins at Halloween time since such talk is a gateway into the school for the devil.

With a sense of excessive and palpable anger, she also would go on and on about certain Catholic organizations worshipping the devil and using blood rituals, including a very prestigious one started by nuns to serve the poor immigrants in the 1800’s in our area of Massachusetts. (You want your young children near her, someone so coo-coo?)

The director’s own daughter refuses to fraternize with her, nor let her near any of the daughter’s four children. Is that a surprise?

Yes, would you want your child in her school? Would you want to work there?

How about art projects consisting of coloring already drawn pictures of Jesus with crayons taken from a religious coloring book. How creative is that to stretch minds artistically?

 

The director, though, liked it since it meant that she was inviting Jesus into her school, according to her paradigm and craziness. She thought that doing so would help thwart the devil and the activity represented in her mind a good indoctrination for the children, including yours were he or her in that school. Yuck!
School four: How about seeing the children physically yanked around by teachers and yelled at by teachers? That’s bad as is shaming them by telling them to shut up in front of classmates, making them sit when crying against a playhouse on the playground until they stop instead of comforting them when sorrowful.

How about a four year old child being sternly told that “big girls don’t cry” and they only cry when they can’t get their way. What kind of understanding of the human condition is being imparted there?

What kind of conditioning is the child learning about containing and not expressing emotions? What is she learning about having expecting something wanted that the child yearns to have or be? No, told to be a blank human and contain reactions to events that are upsetting is imparted as the message. Learn to obey and conform rather than be comforted for wanting a toy that you can’t have have at the moment since someone else has it momentarily is taught.

Don’t learn patience in waiting for a toy or something else. Don’t learn that adults can console. Don’t learn that you are a good girl with a problem that needs solving through rising to be the best that you can be as you wait for your turn with some particular toy that you yearn to have.

No, instead be informed that you are inadequate. Be told to not cry. Be indirectly told that you are a bad human and to not express misery.
How frightening the result is when children are trained this way. It reminds of George Orwell’s 1984 when we’re expected to obey rules and never express emotionally or otherwise variance to them. Be the way that I tell you to be is the message of conformity and there is no room for deviation. (Scary, especially when these children grow up to be the unemotional. obedient fascists that they were trained to become.)

I really don’t consider myself far off the mark in my above assessments and if you do, check out:

Why ‘1984’ Is a 2017 Must-Read – The New York Times
So Are We Living in 1984? – The New Yorker
Americans Are Now Living In a Society That Rivals Orwell’s 1984 …1984 and our modern surveillance society – Future Tense – ABC Radio …
What It’s Like Teaching ‘1984’ After Trump’s Election – The Atlantic

One particular incident that I saw involved this orientation:

Telling a child his social deficiencies can come in many forms, as well as indirectly, as the following account demonstrates:

 

Johnny, a timid, shy and very affectionate boy, was having a hard time adjusting to his new class. Based on his age and developmental readiness, he, aged one and a half, moved into a new class where he was the youngest child. He just left a class where he had been one of the oldest children. So he missed his former teachers and classmates very much. To him, it felt as if the people who’d he’d cherished had died since they all but disappeared out of his life except for a few, seemingly very short times each day. So he cried a lot on and off for days in his new classroom and was unengaged.

 

At first his teachers in the new classroom were sympathetic, cuddled him and tried various techniques to involve him in the new classroom’s activities. After a while, though, they got annoyed with his weepy behavior, which was affecting other children’s moods.

 

Finally one of his teachers yelled at him the following words: “I’ve had enough. You need to stop. We don’t want to hear that anymore. You stop NOW!” She spoke so loudly that a teacher behind a closed door in another classroom heard her yelling those words. Of course, the tirade only made the boy cry more heavily and loudly.He was simply besides himself in grief.

 

Please silently consider the answers to the following questions: So what should the overhearing teacher in the other classroom do? How should she respond to the situation, which is not taking place in her classroom? Are the yelling teacher’s harsh words possibly verbal child abuse? In addition, is Johnny being bullied or not by his teacher? Why do you think that he is or is not being browbeaten as a suffering child?

 

What would happen if Johnny’s parents overheard his teacher saying those words to their son while they were visiting the teacher next door prior to picking up their son to take him home? Would they withdraw him from the school? Would parents touring the school choose it for their child if they heard those words? How would another set of parents whose child is in Johnny’s class react if they heard those words being said to Johnny?

 

Imagine that you, a teacher, are greatly sad and a little bit weepy on and off one day while teaching at this school because of something heartrending and distressing that happened in your personal life. Then imagine someone, who has authority over you, the way that you, a teacher, have over the children – saying to you in front of others: “I’ve had enough. You need to stop. We don’t want to hear that anymore. You stop NOW!”

 

A good rule of thumb for a teacher is that if she wouldn’t want something said or happening to herself, then she shouldn’t say or do it to children. How simple is that as a standard to follow?

 

Children reflect, mirror back, the treatment that they receive. They, too, can become callous and indifferent towards others.

 

Patterns are taught. Therefore, the tenderness that wish to receive must be taught forward. Such a vision is an absolute. We learn as we are trained by those who teach us to be as we are to become.

Perhaps the worst incident that I observed at this particular school involved a child being told that she’d be left alone on the playground since she preferred to play with pebbles rather than line up at the door to go inside for lunch with her classmates.

She was then handled by her shoulders to turn around to face the empty playground. Then she was told goodbye by her teacher.

She shrieked and, trembling, cried in terror at the prospect. She also was ashamed to be castigated in front of her classmates whose respect, friendship and esteem she cherished having for herself.

Eventually she, still traumatized and visibly cowed with her head hung low, was let back in line after she was forced to drop the pebbles that she’d admired and picked up by her tiny fist. Again the message was: conform and do not have individual interests that deviate from the authoritarian norm expected of you. Obey!

At this same school, teachers think and write incoherently. They also mix up information in their minds when writing, such as using “do” for “due” and so on.

Their state of mental disassembly reminds of this statement:

We live in two Americas. One, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other, which constitutes the majority, exists in non-reality-based belief systems. This America is dependent on skilfully manipulated images for information, cannot differentiate between lies and truth, and is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities. 

Chris Hedges

While the vague fuzziness that they endure might be comfortable for them, it creates sometimes confusion for the children and other teachers. One wonders about what they are really trying to convey. What IS the message other than their need to control children to maintain their jobs to have personal financial gain?

What do they do to serve and help children forward? Your guess is as good as mine, but frankly I’m disgusted at the overview.

School Five: Lest you think that there is something anomalous in Massachusetts, USA think again since this following school was in NJ. It, thus, represents the same emblematic problem, which can happen anywhere in the USA or elsewhere located in the world.

The school owner and director there threw down gallons upon gallons of bleach into his well that served the school’s water supply, which composed the drinking water for the children.

He had no idea about the amount to use, but had learned from the husband of a teacher, who was involved with water management, that his water, based on a sample that she’d taken home to her spouse, was worse than water thrown back into streams after minimal treatment at the water facility that he managed at which he was the director.

Accordingly, his well looked good after bleaching relative to human fecal materials present, which the water sample had shown in direly high amounts at the first sample taken. Of course, the director would stop dumping chlorine bleach into his well after the water investigation. Of course, he also fired the teacher, who’d taken the sample to her husband, the water director guy.

This director also held a flip-knife up to a five year old’s genitals and said he’d cut of his balls if he didn’t behave. He also pulled a three year old child by the arm and put him in the closet for misbehaving, a child who was known to be claustrophobic and afraid of the dark.

Needless to say, I, watching this complete overview transpire, got in touch with the state’s Attorney General’s office and he had the school investigated and shut down. News of the abuses and closure hit the newspapers as a result.

Yes, I’d bitten the hand that feeds me. Simultaneously, I knew fully well that my doing so would limit my chances to find another teaching position.

Why? It was because during an interview for another position, I could say that I propelled the investigation in which case I’d be seen as a snitch.

Alternatively if I didn’t mention this detail, I’d be seen suspiciously as someone associated with a bad school. So either way I was doomed.

I undertook the action of initiating closure of the school anyway. How else can a moral person live with herself?

In any case, I deeply love working with and supporting children. Yet I just can’t do it anymore based on my history in the field.

While I am passionate about helping the future generation, each and every individual who comes into my life, to be the best potentially that he or she can be and while I’m a gifted educator, I simply cannot endure another bad school. So I went back to nanotech education wherein I work with major companies and universities. I see no other viable option.

My wanting to be the best that I can to help life forward sometimes has limited options. I’ve met mine as have three school directors who I know and who are willing to serve as references for me in that I’m an incredibly exceptional as an educator. They, too, are a cut above average, but also backed away from unacceptable situations.

So it goes. They, too, left the educational field.

Good-bye from all of us. Sad it is in that we can’t adjust the disgusting standard despite having tried, each of us, for years to raise them higher!

We just don’t have the capacity and are no longer willing to endure when we can’t prevail in our views. We just move onward in work and give up impossible situations, ones that represent hell to us.

Our collective children suffer as a result. However, the wall facing us is too hard to succumb. We beat it and get nowhere. So we move onward.

The norm is too hard to break apart, to shatter for a better vision. So this is good-bye from the best of the best. Good luck to the remnants, anyone still left good, still striving forward in unrealistic idealist uplift for us all.

It will all continue forward — go ahead — wherever inclined in these disgusting schools. We are elsewhere striving to serve life’s forward movement, but the educational realm is gone for us.

The reasons for the switch in direction is obvious, I’d guess, based on the horrors that we’ve faced. It’s simply overburdening.

Our schools reflect the societies and cultural standards that create them. The majority of teachers, who are in them, reflect the education that they, themselves, received.

So where are we heading? Where are we going in schools and society in general without the best of the best?

If anyone considers abandoning children to the wolves in the childcare industry is a trivial matter, just watch who they are when they grow up and take over the wold seceded to them as the prior generation dies off. Watch replication of current tragic patterns  are continued and fortified in the utterly ugly direction. Scary!

Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA

 

 

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Analytical article exposing the pathetic state of child care and early learning schools in USA. The violations must be addressed by the authorities so that the tiny tots might not face horrible situations. Frequent checkups should be conducted by education department