The vast majority of childcare centers, preschools and pre-kindergartens are run by owners who are scrupulous about the safety of the children in their care. Occasionally, however, operators get into trouble when standards aren’t met.
It happened to a daycare operator in Colorado recently, which was ordered to close its doors after authorities found repeated violations of the state Child Care Licensing Act.
The state’s action was prompted by several incidents including one in which an infant was burned by hot water from a microwave. The center also repeatedly violated rules related to child-to-staff ratios. A staff member who reportedly screamed at a crying child didn’t help matters.
Cases such as these raise anew questions of whether a video surveillance system can help. Here’s a look at the pros and cons.
First, a video surveillance system will obviously also allow you to monitor traffic to and from your building.
Additionally, if a child happens to get injured while a teacher isn’t looking, you can watch what happened on video.
These systems also help keep teachers accountable. Unfortunately, not all children find themselves in caring, loving schools. There have been countless cases of teachers being arrested after being caught mistreating children on video.
Video, it’s safe to say, can help establish an environment where trust, communication and goodwill are part and parcel of the relationship between a center and parents.
Given the choice between a center with cameras and one without, many parents will select a center with cameras.
On the other hand, many teachers dislike video surveillance.
They believe it’s an invasion of privacy – the children’s, not their own – and point out that even exceptional levels of teaching and learning are not happening every minute of every day.
When a teacher is being observed during the school day, they say, it inherently changes the nature of their lesson. They are bound to experience some anxiety, as anyone would when being constantly monitored.
Perhaps more to the point, surveillance systems may encourage difficult parents to micro-manage every aspect of a teacher’s performance, which can seriously stifle a teacher’s effectiveness.
If you decide to install video in your center, just remember you’ll want to make sure you take adequate internet security measures to protect against hackers. That includes regularly changing passwords, reporting any unauthorized access to the system, and taking immediate corrective action in response to any possible abuse.
Also know that under the law, video surveillance cameras may be installed only in common rooms and spaces. Bathrooms and changing areas may not be equipped with surveillance cameras of any kind. Finally, daycare facilities are expected to give state inspectors access to all video surveillance equipment.
Morgan P. Mahoney, an Insurance Advisor and Assistant VP at CCIG, handles the risk management and insurance needs of commercial childcare and school accounts. Reach him at 720-330-7926 or Morgan.Mahoney@thinkccig.com.
CCIG is a Denver-area insurance, employee benefits and surety brokerage with clients nationwide. We do more than make sure you have the right policy. We help you manage your long-term cost of insurance with our risk and claims management expertise and a commitment to service excellence.