Dear Daycare, I Trusted You :: But What Happens When You Break That Trust?

Dear Daycare, I Trusted You :: But What Happens When You Break That Trust?

As I sit to write this post I don’t even really know where to begin. My heart is hurting, I’m confused, I feel betrayed … the list goes on. So instead of some poetic entrance into this blog post, I’ll just begin.

Today, as I was sitting in the carpool line to pick my daughter up from camp, my phone began “blowing up” as they say. Considering that this is out of the ordinary, I immediately checked it to see what was going on. As I began reading, I was shocked to my core. There on my phone was a mom group text thread about a teacher who had been fired from a local daycare for alleged child abuse. But this wasn’t just any teacher. It was the very teacher BOTH of my children had when they were two. It was the woman who put my daughter in her lap every day to French braid her hair. It was the woman who calmed my very anxious and shy son by singing songs to him and holding him when he was too afraid to walk into the classroom. I couldn’t believe it. It had to be a misunderstanding. But then I saw the video.

Nothing Is Private These Days

This day in age, everything is recorded, and this horrific incident was no exception. There on my phone was a cellphone video of the aforementioned teacher. What I saw in that video broke my heart. It broke my heart for the child and their family, for the remaining staff at the daycare (whom I know are devastated, as I still keep in contact with some of them), for the parents of other children who now have to wonder if their children are safe at said daycare, and for the other children who were present and had to witness the incident. And finally, it made me question my own judgement. Had I misread this teacher? Had she hurt my children when they were there?

As soon as my daughter got in the car I said, “I know this seems like a weird question, but do you remember _____? Did she ever hurt you? Was she ever mean to you?” Shocked and a bit confused my daughter stared at me as she responded, “No, never. Why do you ask?” And because my daughter is incredibly perceptive, I knew I couldn’t lie to her. I said, “Because she got in trouble today for hurting a child, and I wanted to make sure that never happened to you or your brother.”

The Mama Bear Came Out

That’s when I became angry. Angry that I was even having this conversation with my child. Angry like I was exactly one week ago when I picked my son up from camp only to find out that he had been left at the school while his group went on a field trip. After a long discussion with the camp director, I discovered that they had given the boys the option to stay at school (supervised) if they did not want to go on the field trip due to the excessive heat. Ultimately, my son did not hear the announcement, got in the wrong line, and it was just assumed by camp staff that he decided to stay. While this is certainly much better than my son being left unsupervised at school, it still angered me that no one communicated with me about the mix up. It also upset me that the camp staff felt it appropriate to 1) give a 7 year old an option and 2) that no one checked in with the campers to make sure they had heard / understood the announcement (that was announced in a loud cafeteria, might I add).

Taking A Minute To Clear My Mind

All of this to say that, as parents, we entrust these daycares, schools and camps with the safety and well-being of our children. We place an incredible amount of faith in them to love and support our children, and when that trust is broken in such a way, it’s devastating. It makes you angry. So angry that you are ready to go “scorched earth” on anyone and everyone involved. It makes you so angry that often times, it’s hard to see all the chaotic layers of what exactly happened, and what will happen going forward. While I cannot fathom what this family will have to go through, or how they will handle the situation, I can tell you how I handled the situation with my son. I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote an email to the camp director. The first 2 drafts were not so pleasant. They were accusatory, angry, and demanding. They left no room for any forward progress or discussion. So, I sat with those drafts for a while, and I sat with my anger.

I took some time to understand why I was angry, what answers or solutions was I looking for, and what I needed to hear from the camp director to make the situation rectifiable. Then I rewrote and polished my final draft of my email. This final draft was stern and assertive but not demeaning. It got my point across but still indicated that I was willing to have a calm discussion with him to determine exactly what happened when my son got left at school by mistake. I hit send and waited for him to contact me.

Finally, some answers

About an hour after I sent the email, the camp director called me. I gave him an opportunity to present his side of the story, and then I expressed my concerns. I told him that I felt it irresponsible to let 7 year olds make a decision like that, at the last minute, and to not ensure that all the campers heard / understood their options. I also told him that it made me lose some faith in their ability to manage that many children and that their communication on that matter was lacking considerably. I also told him that someone needed to apologize to my son, because he was devastated he missed the trip and felt that he had done something wrong.

The director thanked me for my time, agreed that several errors were made in regards to the situation and assured me that communication would be better moving forward. While I do appreciate his efforts to mitigate my concerns, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a bad taste in my mouth about the camp. I will let my son finish out the remainder of his time there, but I can’t say we will be back next year. Even though the anger has subsided, it hasn’t completely resolved because that’s my baby I entrusted them with. I allowed them to care for my most precious gift, and they neglected to care for him in a manner I find acceptable. And as bad as I felt that experience was, the incident in question at the daycare is exponentially worse. So, I cannot imagine how that mother and father feel. I imagine they are cycling through a gambit of very raw and heavy emotions, all compounded by the fact that this video is now circulating around on social media.

Remember They Are People And Respect Their Privacy

So, while I understand the initial reaction of mama bear rage and the desire of all mama bears to “expose” what happened to this child, I also encourage you to think about how all this will impact the family of that child. Think about how sharing the videos – and discussing the situation on social media – may re-traumatize them. Think about how it will affect the other wonderful teachers at the school, who are likely equally as disgusted and horrified as we all are. Think about how that child will feel when they are a bit older and realize that a very traumatic experience was made incredibly public without their consent. As easy as it is to be angry, sometimes we need to sit with that anger before we take action so that we can see the whole picture.

In the meantime, I’m praying for the family of this sweet child. I’m praying for the remaining daycare staff, and I am praying for all us mama bears (and daddy bears). I am praying that we can find ways to support this family and express our solidarity without feeling the need to make their very personal experience a public one.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here