Kinderland bars teachers from using personal devices following alleged abuse incidents
Kinderland Singapore on Wednesday barred its staff members from using personal devices during teaching hours with immediate effect, with the move drawing ire from online commenters.
The pre-school has come under fire this week following the circulation of secretly filmed viral videos showing the alleged abuse of children by teachers on its premises – two of whom have since been arrested.
“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 at 7.30pm.
“Kinderland reiterates using the Pre-School Management App with authorised company-issued devices.
“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.”
Commenters on its Facebook post reacted negatively to the statement.
“The recent cases were not about infringing the children’s privacy; if you thought it was, then you are entirely missing the point,” said Facebook user Germaine Chan.
According to a screenshot seen by The Straits Times, Kinderland Singapore had apparently published an earlier, differently worded Facebook post at about 5.20pm.
On social media platform Reddit, user OkTaro8212 posted a screenshot of what appears to be Kinderland Singapore’s earlier statement.
“As a parent, it just irks me to my core,” said OkTaro8212, adding that the incidents were uncovered by a whistleblower using a personal phone.
On Wednesday, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said that the centre leader and operator of a Kinderland pre-school branch are being investigated over their roles in a case involving the alleged abuse of children.
A 33-year-old woman was arrested on Monday after a police report was made over a viral video showing a teacher allegedly pouring water into a 23-month-old girl’s mouth after forcing her to lie down. She was charged on Wednesday with ill-treating a child.
Following the circulation of the viral videos, some parents have withdrawn their children from the branch.
A group of parents are also calling for the principal of the school to be fired and barred from working in the pre-school sector, criticising her for not doing enough in the alleged abuse incidents and not taking their complaints seriously.
A second Kinderland pre-school teacher, 48, was also arrested on Tuesday after a report was made about a video circulating online – believed to have been filmed at a Kinderland pre-school at Sunshine Place in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 – in which she is seen allegedly hitting a young boy.