Are Parents Over-reacting to Child being Hurt?

opinion 1 In the 2.5 years I have worked with her, I have never doubted my boss' decisions, as she knows what is best for everyone involved. This time, however, I feel as though she may have made a mistake.

Per parent request, my boss recently decided to put two teachers at all times in a classroom, due to injuries that a child retained. There are a maximum of 13 children in the classroom. Said child got hurt three times over the last few months. The first time was accidental, as the child tripped over something, the second was a child who pushed him into something outside, and the third was a child who tripped over something, lost his balance, and as a result, pushed this child into the table. The most recent injury was an accident, and the teacher who was in the room at the time is being blamed for it, not by our boss, but by the child's parents. The parents were visibly upset, and very angry, which resulted as an impromptu meeting with my bosses.

The decision was made to have two teachers in the classroom at all times when the child is present. The second teacher's job is that of a "bodyguard", following the child everywhere, watching him at all times, preventing him from being hurt. When the child leaves for the day, the second teacher also leaves.

Due to this decision, having two teachers in the classroom results in a staffing shortage, directors in classrooms teaching and covering breaks, and our cook in a classroom which puts her behind schedule, resulting in dishes not being done and snack not ready on time. Furthermore, it presents a problem between 10:30a-12:00p, which is pick-up/school lunch/drop-off, where it is crucial to have a teacher. Prior to this new placement of a second teacher in the classroom, the second teacher would have been with one of the classes that eats during this time period. For most of last week, our cook covered the time period, and one day I covered it. Due to my being needed in the lunch group, I had to take this child with me, who clearly wasn't happy with the arrangement. He cried when we got into the other classroom, barely ate anything, cried after we were finished with lunch, and cried while we were in the multi-purpose room. He doesn't handle change very well, and enjoys being with his own class. Whenever the second teacher is needed elsewhere, she has to take the child with her, which upsets him, as evident by his crying.

The other teacher who was in the classroom with me mentioned to my boss that this child would most likely cry at this arrangement, and she said there was nothing else we can do, he is going to have to cry it out. I love both of my bosses to death, and understand that they are only fulfilling a parental request, however, I can't help but think that this decision puts more stress on the staff and the overall flow of the day. The teacher who was present when the child fell most recently is a sweet girl who did not intend for this to happen, contrary to parental thoughts. She took every precaution to prevent something like this from happening, and it happened, which was beyond her control. (There is a videotape to prove the fall was accidental.) If there are two teachers in the classroom, the child could still fall and get hurt. I understand that the parents are upset about their child being hurt, however, I do think they are overreacting. Their child is going to fall, and no matter what precaution they or teachers take, a fall will happen. As their child gets older, are they expecting the public school to provide a teacher to follow him around, ensuring his safety at all times?

I am considering talking to my boss about this arrangement, because I don't think this solution is working, and I think they realize that. I would like to hear the thoughts of parents, nannies, and childcare professionals about this situation and if they think the parents are overreacting. I am also wondering if anyone has a solution to accommodate the parents request, without causing a staffing shortage and upsetting the child. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions.


STLNanndy said...

While I don't think anything could have been done to prevent all of these injuries, I used to work, in a daycare where a case very similiar occured and we too had to shadow the child. The fact is that parents deserve to have their child safe while at a center. If thier child seems to always be the one getting hurt, I can understand why they are upset. I see two options here...1. risk losing the child as the parents could pull him and put him in a different facility, or 2. keep doing what you're doing and shadow him for his safety.

It's not fun, but it has to be done, at least for a little while. Maybe after a couple of weeks if there are no further incidents, you can lighten up on the shaddowing during calm times in the day.

MissMannah said...

While I think shadowing is a bit extreme, I do think it is always a good idea to have two teachers in every classroom. In my state, they are well on their way to making it a law, for the protection of the children and of the teachers. If there's another teacher present, she can vouch that I am never laying a hand on a child and no parent can accuse me of doing so.

You can bring it up with your boss if you want, but I think it will be worthless. If you have a staffing shortage, that is your boss's problem. Does your school not have substitutes or resource teachers on staff for instances such as these? I do understand temporary shortages due to people quitting but I've worked at places that is constantly scrambling to find teachers to cover all the classrooms and it does not work out. Plus, the parents aren't stupid, they can see if you're disorganized.

Another thing you mentioned is that this boy is being carted along to different classrooms if the teacher is needed elsewhere. Not ok in my book. The way I see it is the parents don't need to lighten up, but your boss needs to hire more people.

another nanny said...

Although I feel bad for the teacher getting blamed, and I know it was an accident, I'm going to side with your boss. I can understand the parents being angry if their child is getting more than the average number of injuries. Your boss is probably afraid not just of bad publicity or losing the business, but also of a lawsuit. Why doesn't she hire a floater?
You don't say how old the children are, but if they are under 4, I think it's a really good idea to have two teachers in the classroom with 13 children. I have to wonder if children are frequently tripping- are they running in the classroom or is the room poorly arranged? If so, what is being done to correct this?

Are You Serious? said...

I think this is ridiculous. I can't believe the director even agreed to do this. What if every time a child is in an accident, his or her parents demand this? In that case, why not just have one teacher for each child? This is disrupting the entire workings of the school.

Accidents happen. The videotape will show if there's negligence. If the parents want one-on-one care, they can hire someone to follow the child around all day. Besides, taking the child out of the classroom is making him miss activities, and disrupting the consistency and continuity of his day - making him miserable and crying each day.

I agree that there needs to be enough staff (which is state regulated). Beyond that, I don't believe in making any special concessions for something like this. Group care is different from individual care. More children equal a greater chance for more accidents. That's the way it is.

Don't get me wrong, I am not heartless. I have a child and she has been injured in school. It's not a good feeling, but things happen. Maybe the parents of this child should hire a nanny and postpone group care until kindergarten.

OP said...

OP Here:

My boss has realized she needs to hire more people. She recently hired someone that started last Thursday. Part of last week's issue was that the primary teacher for this classroom was out due to an injury, atributed to the staffing shortage. The other problem is the large number of college students, most who only work part time.

This particular group of children are all four years old, with the exception of one who turns four in a few weeks. The room can hold 13 children, which is the state requirement for the age group. The room is properly arranged, and the children do not run in the classroom.

As for the accidents, I was only told what happened, I didn't witness anything.

Does this help anything?

MissMannah said...

Thanks for the additional info, that does help. For some reason, I was under the impression this child was a toddler. Now that I know he is four, I agree that shadowing is ridiculous. A child can never achieve autonomy if he isn't allowed to learn from his own mistakes and at this age, he is capable of doing so.

Now that the lead teacher has returned, are you still having to be in the classroom to assist with this one child? (I was also under the impression that you were the lead teacher in said classroom.) If the teacher and the parents have a good relationship, maybe she can talk to them and relieve some of their fears that he's not likely to get seriously injured. Perhaps your boss can invite the parents to review the surveillance tapes at frequent conferences.

I said he's not likely to get seriously injured, but just this morning I had to send one of my toddlers in my class to the ER for stitches in his forehead. He fell off a table, which I knew was coming because the kids just love climbing on the tables. They're at that age where redirection is starting to wear thin. Ugh what a day! By the way, sorry if I was harsh in my last post.

OP Here said...

OP here:

Mannah: The primary teacher doesn't need a second teacher. The teacher who was in the classroom when the accident happened is in the classroom everyday in the afternoon, and she is the one that needs a second teacher. Anytime the afternoon teacher or other teachers are in the classroom, two teachers are required.

You weren't being harsh at all!

akpeach said...

Personally I think the parents should just pull the kid out if they are concerned rather than requiring a teacher to shadow him all day. Are they paying extra to have that teacher only paying attention to their child? No. They need to make other arrangements if they are concerned about your daycare.

Anonymous said...

What kind of (*)(*) school is this? Kick the kid out. If the parents want kid gloves on the kid at all times, get a nanny and keep him at home. (I made a pun. HAHA)

Tell me what I'm missing, because it must be something.

another nanny said...

OP, yes it helps to have the additional information. Although I can still understand the parents being upset, I don't think it's typical for a 4-year-old to need a shadow, unless they have a documented special need. (I know sometimes shadows are used with younger kids when they are in a biting phase or something).
I think these parents are going to be in for a shock when the kid goes to kindergarten and there's minimal supervision (like at lunch or in the bathrooms, etc).