Abused in daycare

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It’s enough to give any parent nightmares.

In daycare, where kids are trustingly left each day, a child is beaten on the ankles, a little girl is tied to a desk with a rope and a woman can be heard telling the children, ‘‘Remember, don’t tell mommy and daddy or you won’t get a surprise.’’

That’s what parents of kids at Babbelbekkies Daycare centre in Pretoria North saw on a video recently.

Mynie Kruger, who’s in charge but doesn’t own the centre, fought back tears as she told YOU a young woman previously employed at the centre had admitted to her lawyer that she’d made the video and showed it to the parents.

Mynie believes the woman was out to damage her reputation so she could take over the school.

‘‘When she asked me for a job 10 months ago I trusted her and asked her to look after the children. And this is what she’s done . . ."

The woman isn’t a qualified teacher, says Mynie, who admits she also hit the children occasionally.

‘‘I worked hard for the place and we turned out good kids but now I’m the bad guy – just because I trusted someone.’’

Mynie’s lawyer, André Grobler, says the woman Mynie hired will appear before a disciplinary committee of the daycare centre in October and criminal charges may follow.

Tying children down or hitting them isn’t discipline, it’s child abuse, says Noreen Ramsden, spokesperson at the Children’s Rights Centre in Durban. Yet it seems to be happening at crèches and daycare centres across South Africa.

Parents may choose how to discipline their children and the occasional smack on the bottom may go unnoticed but a smack by a teacher or daycare superviser is unlawful in terms of the Children’s Act, she adds.

‘‘Teachers need to develop skills in alternative discipline techniques.’’

* Read more, plus useful advice, in the 30 September 2010 issue of YOU.

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