SINGAPORE: Kinderland Singapore has prohibited its staff from using personal devices while teaching starting immediately on Wednesday, (30 Aug).
This decision has sparked negative reactions from online commentators.
The preschool has faced significant criticism this week after two covertly recorded videos went viral, depicting purported mistreatment of children by teachers within its premises.
“To safeguard our children’s privacy, Kinderland has in place company-issued devices to manage all communications with parents. This includes sharing photos and videos through a Pre-School Management App to inform parents of their child’s progress,” said Kinderland Singapore in a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday.
“To also prevent the misuse of photos and videos of our children, Kinderland will now make it a policy that staff not use their personal devices during teaching hours. We hope that these measures will better protect all,” it said.
Consequently, two teachers have been arrested in relation to the occurrence – one from the Kinderland Woodlands preschool, and another from a separate Kinderland establishment situated at Sunshine Place in Choa Chu Kang.
Kinderland preschool at Woodlands
A set of videos, initially posted by a user named Claudia Tan, gained traction on Facebook on August 28.
The initial Facebook post has been removed, as confirmed by Claudia Tan on August 29.
However, a number of Facebook users were able to save the video and went on to share it again.
These videos portrayed a female teacher allegedly mistreating students, which reported to have occurred at Kinderland Preschool @ Woodlands Mart.
Law enforcement took the 33-year-old individual into custody on August 29, and filed charges related to the mistreatment of a child or young person, as reported by Gutzy Asia.
Kinderland preschool at Sunshine Place
On Tuesday, Aug 29, a new video has surfaced showing another case of child mistreatment happening at a Kinderland establishment.
The incident purportedly took place at a Kinderland preschool at Sunshine Place in Choa Chu Kang.
In this second incident, the video showed the teacher smacking a boy on the head several times and pushing him away.
Another child is seated on a chair in front of the teacher, and the woman has her legs up on the chair on either side of the child.
CNA reported that the 48-year-old woman had been arrested on Tuesday, Aug 29, for voluntarily causing hurt read with enhanced penalties for offences against person below 14 years of age.
This was the second arrest of a preschool teacher this week for allegedly mistreating children under their care.
Both cases involved preschools from the Kinderland chain.
Kinderland’s new policy irk netizens
A user who goes by OkTaro8212 on reddit posted a picture of what appears to be Kinderland Singapore’s earlier statement on Facebook.
They said, “as a parent, it just irks me to my core. The whole abuse (both Woodlands and CCK) was uncovered by a whistle blower who took the video using his/her personal phone.
“And to suddenly implement a new no photos/no videos policy just shows that they are more interested in keeping their image than the kids welfare.”
A user who feels similarly responded, noting that the “management (are) clearly doing this to shift blame away from themselves,” and “only pretending to care,” they said.
Another user said that it’s obvious the management doesn’t care about taking care of and keeping the kids safe.
Given the circumstances, their response only occurred once the teacher’s conduct was uncovered.
A user mentioned that without the intervention of the whistleblowers, the children could have remained subjected to inhumane treatment.
“The company should be thanking (the whistleblowers) for helping them rid themselves of one abusive employee,” they said.