Is the alleged neglect at childcare centre in Singapore fake news or real? Who put those photos on social media?
It started off as a rumour and then it spread like wildfire on social media, even making it to the headlines of most newspapers in Singapore. We are referring to the alleged case of child neglect at a Singapore childcare centre.
How it started
According to The Straits Times, last week, some photos were posted on Chinese social media site WeChat, showing the sad state of affairs at Sam's Early Learning Centre in River Valley Road. Children were seen lying on the floor without mattresses.
Worse still, other photos emerged, showing what looked like rotten fruit, in the kitchen area. The last photo showed a child lying in a cot with a used diaper next to him, and poo smeared on his bare bottom.
The anonymous person who put up the post also alleged that the centre never used milk powder that parents had left, for their children to be fed with, throwing it away instead.
All these pictures referred to a clear case of child neglect. Angry netizens vented their outrage on social media, and justifiably so, as so many Singaporean children go to childcare every single day. Safety and hygiene is something that we have taken for granted in a clean city like Singapore.
Meanwhile, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) sprung into action, and got into investigation mode.
Was it fake news all along?
Now, in an unexpected turn of events, Sam’s Early Learning Centre has come out with a statement to the media, saying that the allegations were fake and an act of vengeance by a former employee.
According to Channel News Asia, Mrs Samia El-Ibiary, the centre's director has said that the photos that have been circulating on social media are misleading. She refutes allegations of feeding children rotten fruit by saying, “The centre purchases fruit twice a week and certainly if any part does go bad overnight, (it) is cut out and thrown away. Certainly, if the whole fruit is bad, for sure it is disposed of.”
As for the children sleeping on the floor, they were apparently assigned “stretching and breathing exercises after lunch."
The picture that sparked the most outrage was probably of the child shown lying in a cot with a dirty diaper beside him. Mrs. Samia has been quoted as saying that the child, "had a habit of pulling his diapers off while in the process of having a bowel movement during his nap time. On this particular day that the photo was taken, the teacher had called upon the cleaner to assist in the cleaning up of the child. The cleaner was asked to help wash the toddler while the teacher held him and distracted him.” Apparently, the child in question is no longer in Singapore, and has moved back to his home country.
theAsianparent contacted Sam’s Early Learning Centre, and spoke to Ms. Mages, centre supervisor, who confirmed the details of the statement that has been released to the media.
Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) report
Also, ECDA has completed its investigations on alleged child neglect and this is what it has to say, "Based on our visit, the centre complies with ECDA’s regulatory requirements for safety, health and hygiene. We have also not received adverse feedback about the centre from parents of children currently enrolled at the centre."
Parents show support
Meanwhile, in a show of solidarity, as many as 35 parents, of children enrolled at Sam's Early Learning Centre have signed a letter showing support for the centre. The letter reads, "From the beginning, we did not believe these allegations were true as our children have always been happy and healthy, and there have never been any complaints from our children about abuse or mistreatment in the many years our children have been attending Sam's."
"We are glad that the ECDA report has cleared the name of the school and that our trust in the school and its teachers has not been misplaced.We believe that the pictures were deliberately and maliciously taken out of context and captioned with defamatory statements by someone intending to harm Sam's reputation."
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