'Aftercare is abused by parents': Teachers share their thoughts

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We recently shared the plight of Sipokazi, who's daughter was banned from aftercare for being collected late on six occasions through 2019. 

A lawyer shared legal advice with the family, ultimately suggesting the principal and the school governing body reconsider the decision they took to expel the minor child from the aftercare facility, as it violates numerous of the child’s rights in terms of the Constitution and the UNCRC.

Read the full story here: Child permanently banned from aftercare? Here are your rights as a parent

But many parents, and educators, wrote to us asking the same question: 

"What about the teachers?" 

A typical mail reads: "What about the rights of the aftercare staff? Are they not entitled to go home on time? Collect their own children and take care of family responsibilities at the end of the work day?

One parent wrote asking:

"Has anyone considered the impact to the children of the caregivers?
These people already leave work later than the complaining parents. It appears that no-one has given any thought to those caregivers and their children.
What arrangements must these people make? What is knock-on effect on them? What if they depend on public transport?" 

An aftercare teacher wrote to Parent24, explaining their side of the story:  

"I have been in the Early childhood development industry for over 20 years. A child will never be expelled, but penalty fees do apply as we understand the circumstances that parents are faced with collecting their child on time. 
Also take into consideration the teacher that has to look after the late child that will now miss their own transport as a result.
Furthermore the teacher is often the one to lock up the facility which is also a security risk in winter. This domino effect needs to be addressed so that there are guidelines in place for both the parents as well as the aftercare facility itself." 

Another aftercare professional mailed us with their viewpoint:

"I sympathise with working parents, but in most cases they are not aware of who is taking care of their children and what are the responsibilities of the after care facilitator.
They see it as an employee that is there to wait however long it takes till they get round to collecting their child and they never apologise or show any sign that they are aware of the way in which they have inconvenienced other people. 
As someone who has worked in aftercare before I would like to shed some light for the reasons for these policies.
After care is not school it is an extra service parents pay for to watch their children until a certain time, usually 6-7pm.
Any later than that and the child effectively has no time once they get home to bath and eat and do any extra homework or any of the things children do after school.
In my opinion, family should be together for at least a small time in the evening and when parents leave their children till 8/9pm at night, where is the family support?
Aftercare is abused by parents. Understand that an after school facilitator is there all day till the last child and then is there again the next day; and what they fail to mention is that lateness at collection for aftercare is a huge issue, parents will often run errands instead of picking up their children because they don’t want the hassle of kids tagging along.
You have parents only arriving after 8pm even though they finished work at 5 or 6.
Aftercare is used as cheap baby sitters. And the responsibility for helping with homework and other life skills falls on the aftercare teacher instead of the parent or care giver.
If the parents are unable to organise around their child then the question should be how can we help the parents be there for their children, not how can we make sure aftercare facilities are forced to watch their children for as long as possible."

See what parents and aftercare professionals had to say on social media here:

What do you think?

Is there a simple answer to this tricky situation?

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