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Over the past week, the city of Alexandria in Egypt has been rocked after an audio recording of a child being severely abused and violently beaten in a kindergarten went viral.
In the video, an adult woman appears to scold the child for urinating on her body, and over the course of several minutes, the woman repeatedly hits the child while yelling at her.
This leaked video was the beginning of the revelation of the most terrible incidents, if a mother recognized the voice of her child in the kindergarten, and by communicating with other parents, the parents realized the truth about what was happening.
The families accused the headmistress of the well-known kindergarten, located in a posh neighborhood in the coastal city, of practicing torture and enjoying punishing her relatives. Families discussed the details of the punishments their children discovered, which included wearing them by the ears, withholding food for long periods, and even punishing children who threw up food by eating what came out of their mouths.
The Egyptian Public Prosecutor’s Office heard the testimony of four guardians of children in the nursery, who confirmed the eternal abuse of their manager over their children, hitting and slapping, which caused them injuries, and that they documented their children’s statements with attacks. them and their injuries in the photos and videos they shared with each other, which the public prosecutor’s office reviewed.
The State Prosecutor’s Office also heard the testimony of two kindergarten teachers and an employee, who confirmed that her director abused children on several occasions, and that one of them recorded an audio recording documenting one of the cases of abuse that she handed over to the guardians of the abused child. .
In a separate incident, prosecutors ordered the jailing of a teacher in the southern Egyptian city of Assiut after he was accused of beating a nine-year-old girl to death, adding to his habit of beating other children at the primary schools where he works.
After receiving notification of the victim’s death, the state attorney’s office listened to the statements of eleven children of her classmates, and concluded from the results of their statements that the accused attacked some of them and other students’ children with blows on their hands. with a stick.
They confirmed that the child refused to extend her hand in front of the teacher so that he could punish her with beatings, so he hit her in certain parts of her body until he managed to hit her on the hands, so she lost strength and fell to the ground, and she hit her head on the seat and passed out so the accused tried to wake her up until she was taken to the hospital.
But how can families know the truth about what is happening in schools and understand the extent of the abuse children are exposed to?
Tips and Warnings
In contact with the Al-Hurra website, Policy Adviser on the Protection of Children and Adults from Violence and Exploitation, Hajar Al-Sayed Ali, explained the importance of taking a number of precautions and procedures for parents before sending children to nurseries and pre-school care homes .
The Egyptian consultant explained: “Despite what we hear about the torture and violence of these little creatures in some kindergartens, there are good places where people have a certain degree of experience and awareness and apply the latest educational and psychological methods in dealing with children, but this does not mean that we leave things to chance, but we have to be careful when choosing a nursery to which we will entrust our little ones.”
Hajar continued: “First, the child must be ready before being sent to the nursery, and by readiness we do not mean age, but that he is prepared in advance at home so that he can integrate with the children, and he has no fear of leaving to that place.”
And she emphasized the need for “nurseries to be licensed and to meet all the requirements set by the relevant authorities, and also, as a mother, I should inspect the building myself to ensure that safety and security methods are in place and that there is camera surveillance in all places, and especially the paths that lead to the bathrooms, and that the bathrooms are separated between men’s and women’s, and to know that the person who supervises the entry of children into the bathroom is qualified and trained for this.”
And she continued: “Nurseries should not be overcrowded with children, and the rooms in them should be well ventilated and exposed to the sun, not to mention having a children’s playground.”
The consultant required parents to ensure that teachers have the appropriate qualifications to teach and work with children, that their number is sufficient, with support staff who are well experienced in dealing with all emergency situations, and that the curriculum is suitable for the child, and does not put him under pressure beyond his age.
She also warned that a mother has the right to go at any time to look at the camera footage in the classrooms to check how her children are doing, adding: “Also, parents should talk to the daycare manager and administrators to express any concerns or doubts they have, and find out how they will treat the children in case they make a mistake or if someone throws a tantrum, you should also not forget how important it is to ask other mothers about their experiences with this or that kindergarten.”
And she added: “All these things are important and should not be overlooked when choosing the right nursery for your child.”
And after making sure the nursery is suitable and after the child moves into it, Ali says, “A mother needs to be able to communicate with her child, whether they’ve entered the speech stage or not, to find out if there’s been any changes in his temperament and habits, and his body must be examined to ensure that there are no marks and bruises, and ask the administration to make an immediate report to the parents in case the child falls or has a physical accident with him.
And she continued: “In the event that the child speaks, he must be constantly questioned about his condition and what he did during the day, and here we claim that the child who gets used to violence against him at home will be accepted into the kindergarten, and therefore there should be no violence against the child.”
Regarding the most common signs that a child is exposed to violence, she answers: “One of the most common signs is sleep disturbances or waking up crying at night, and the occurrence of cases of involuntary urination, especially if the child knows how to use the bathroom, and the child can become nervous and hit his sisters and express His anger was violent with the appearance of speech and speech disorders.
And she added, “As for sexual harassment, it can be recognized by the presence of signs on the child’s body and his habit of touching his sensitive areas or removing all his clothes in public, as if it has become very normal for him.”
Referring to children in school desks, Hajar says: “Children in the primary stage have become more aware compared to those in the nursery, so here we also emphasize the need for them not to be exposed to physical violence inside the home, i.e. not to accept it in classrooms.”
And she added: “In the event that a child talks to his parents about being exposed to violence at school, as happened with the little girl Rinada, then the parents should take immediate action and contact the child helpline of the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood.” , which deals with every report of violence against children anywhere, not within the city.” exclusively education.
The consultant pointed out that it is possible for a child to report any violence to which he is exposed at school, as this is stated in the Children’s Act, although many schools do not apply it.
She also emphasized that attention should be paid to the child’s exposure to sexual abuse, because the child may not be aware of what is happening to him, adding: “Here, too, it is the parents’ responsibility that any strange behavior does not appear in the behavior or habits of their children, except for examining their bodies in a way that is not attractive to the child or affects the child.” his psyche.”