Local News

Abuse or Discipline? Questions Surround Actions Caught on Day Care Videotape

Posted May 9, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— What was caught on videotape at a local day care center is being interpreted differently by two people. One parent says what she saw happen to children at the day care is abuse; the center's director calls it discipline.

When you are in the business of caring for children, you can expect parents to watch you with an eagle eye. That is why many day care centers are using video cameras to document activity in their classrooms.

Some parents say silent pictures do not always tell the whole story.

Donna Boggs claims security video taken last week at theAppletree Day Care Center on Old Poole Roadin Raleigh shows her 3-year-old son being grabbed and shoved to the floor by a caregiver.

Boggs witnessed the incident through a window in the door.

"He was screaming and crying and she was talking ugly to him," she says.

Boggs says she saw another boy in the corner being screamed at and yanked up from the floor.

"I couldn't let it happen again. Not after I saw the first little boy treated roughly and immediately I saw my son treated the same way," she says.

Boggs pulled her son out of Appletree and filed a formal complaint with the state.

The center's owner, Carolyn Driggers, believes the tape vindicates her employee.

"I mean the caregiver is helping him and assisting him," says Driggers. "As a director, from what I see in this tape, I don't see anything that was inappropriate."

Driggers says the 12 cameras at her center protect everyone.

"I think that it protects me as an owner, it protects the teachers and caregivers, and it also protects the child," she says.

The state's file on Appletree shows that there have been a number of complaints lodged against this particular center over the past two years. Those complaints involve everything from how children are handled and talked to, to how they are supervised.

"There are good day cares. This just isn't one of them," says Boggs.

Driggers stands by the quality of her center. She says she believes many of the complaints come from disgruntled former employees.

To learn more about your child's day care center the place to start is at theState Division of Child Developmentwhich has public files documenting every complaint.

If you have a complaint, it is important to request the videotape immediately because they are usually recycled.

In North Carolina, more than 190,000 children are cared for in regulated day care centers and homes. Children in day care full-time, beginning at the of age two months, spend nearly 10,000 hours in a center by the time they enter kindergarten.