Nursery staffer suspended for manhandling my DD

(69 Posts)
birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 08:43:53

DD1 is 13 months, has been in nursery part-time for 5 weeks.

Yesterday I picked her up from nursery as normal, staff all smiles, went home & took the dogs to the park. DH came home & we all went out for a nice pub tea to celebrate me getting through my first month back at work (& first pay day for months!). Then I got a call from the Deputy Manager at the nursery to inform me a staff member has been suspended over an "incident" involving my daughter. Heart in mouth while I pray please don't let it be violent, or God forbid, sexual. Turns out another member of staff was walking past the CCTV screens they have in the entrance hall showing all rooms when she caught this staffer "throwing DD onto a beanbag with what we consider unacceptable force". DD had been throwing sand or something apparently, they think said staffer was engaging in an inappropriate attempt at discipline (she is 13 mo, FFS).

The woman who caught her in the act intervened to ensure DD was ok & remove her from this person's care. The management then reviewed the footage and suspended her. They didn't tell me when I picked DD up because the staff member was still in the building.

They didn't tell me who it was (probably appropriate although I am not into vigilantism) but have asked me to come in first thing Mon am to see the footage myself & discuss it further.

As far as they are aware at this stage it was an isolated incident but they are investigating further to see if she has behaved this way before, with DD or others.

I am trying not to over-reacting but have felt a but sick since learning this & slept badly last night. Just keep imagining the incident (am sure it is now worse in my mind than it was in actual fact). DH has postponed a work trip so he can come with me on Mon am.

I haven't massively enjoyed my return to work, have missed DD, and worried about how she was settling in. Yesterday was actually the first morning she didn't cry on dropping her off so I was starting to feel better- now I just feel my trust has been broken and I am suddenly acutely aware I have left her with strangers.

Also -what if it has happened before?

What if it is not deemed a sackable offence & I have to leave DD with this person again? Even if I see the footage and don't feel what she did was terrible, it would be very odd to leave DD with her & for me to have to interest with her as normal after she has been through a suspension process in relation to DD (which must be a pretty awful thing for the staff member involved, assuming what they caught was a rare moment of frustration not a typical moment from an uncaring cow).

DD appears to be fine physically & emotionally.

I haven't told parents or ILs yet as they will almost certainly overreact & tell us to remove her from the nursery (MIL in particular would be distraught & would probably tell me to give up work immediately!).

Any advice? Anyone known this happen elsewhere?

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Bonsoir Sat 01-Oct-11 08:46:32

Oh you poor, poor thing. This is very distressing indeed. I agree that you and your DH shouldn't discuss it with family members until you have been into the nursery and seen the footage. Do you have a HV or GP to discuss it with?

birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 08:47:57

Interact, not interest -silly autocorrect

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birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 08:56:18

Thanks Bonsoir. Haven't seen an HV in almost a year, they were pretty crap then tbh! Could tell me GP but there have been no bruises or signs of injury. No emotional distress either; she hasn't been her usual chirpy self on pick-up but I put that down to tiredness.

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Bonsoir Sat 01-Oct-11 08:59:17

I meant the GP for you, to talk about your distress with, not for DD. It is quite legitimate that, even if your DD is in fact fine, you do not feel fine and have very real concerns about leaving her in nursery care now that this incident has occurred.

lisad123 Sat 01-Oct-11 09:04:41

in all honestly, I dont think I could leave her there again sad
Is there anyway you could give up work or leave her with family instead? Very horrible staff memember and quite worrying especially if child had been younger and had less head control shock
glad dd is ok though

birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 09:05:13

Oh right! I will be fine, DH being v supportive. Just can't shirk this sick & uneasy feeling but I think part of that is my imagination playing horrors.

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bagelmonkey Sat 01-Oct-11 09:10:41

It sounds as though the nursery are handling this appropriately on current information. If investigation reveals this was the only event it might be ok to continue with the same nursery, but not if that staff member is still working there and you have any reservations after seeing the footage. If there were any prior events I would be very concerned that they were only discovered by chance.

birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 09:11:05

Really Lisa? Even if they get rid of this member of staff? They appear to be handling it ok, and another staff member bravely intervened, and they DO have video cameras for exactly this sort of reason unlike many nurseries. We don't have family near enough to use for childcare. Could look for other childcare options but I did visit 8 nurseries & 5 childminders before deciding on this place...

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bagelmonkey Sat 01-Oct-11 09:12:06

I don't think you'll be able to leave her there unless you are 100% happy with it second time around. What are your alternatives?

bagelmonkey Sat 01-Oct-11 09:13:30

Sounds like it will be ok if single incident and this staff member leaves or serious disciplinary action taken.

snailoon Sat 01-Oct-11 09:13:39

It sounds like the nursery are dealing with this very well, and even if the worker isn't fired, she is getting a good wakeup call. Still, I would completely sympathize if you never want to go there again.

RitaMorgan Sat 01-Oct-11 09:14:33

View the footage, it may well not be as bad as you imagine (eg. pushing your DD onto the beanbag a little roughly rather than hurling her in a rage). Then decide if the management response is enough, and whether you can trust her to the care of this nursery/staff member again.

It does sound like the nursery are dealing with this very robustly, and believe me it is a very good sign that another staff member was shocked and intervened! I have worked at a nursery before where the manager behaved like this (not violent or abusive, just not gentle/manhandling children when she was cross with them - it was part of the culture of that nursery, children weren't treated with respect.

I'd try to find out why this happened - why did the staff member get so stressed about this incident and react in that way? Are there a lot of children in that room, not enough staff, did the staff member get adequate breaks from the children, is the sand a constant source of conflict? Find out what they can do to ensure this never happens again.

birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 09:15:13

Don't really want to give up work as ttc & would like maternity pay for dc2! Plus whilst I'm not thrilled to be back it's a good, well paid job with flexibility, might not be easy to find again in future

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BertieBotts Sat 01-Oct-11 09:19:33

It sounds like the nursery have done exactly the right thing, and while it may have been an error of judgement on the staff member's part (I have certainly put DS on the bed harder than I intended to when I was tired and frazzled, and he was absolutely fine and not traumatised, - and DP has probably thrown DS around, on a soft surface, with similar force as part of a game which he was laughing and giggling about.) - if it was forceful enough to be deemed aggressive, I imagine they wouldn't have her back at all, so it was probably more that this particular worker is more used to dealing with older children and misjudged your DD's weight or something.

Either way, they sound on the ball, they obviously have good positive discipline strategies (Some friends' children are at nurseries where time out is used as soon as they get to the age of 1 hmm) and they are dealing with this seriously at the first instance, not assuming it was a misunderstanding or an accident, but trying to find out the truth - whether it's that she disagrees with the discipline policy or has difficulty controlling herself when angry/tired/wound up, or whether it's something else which could be worked on. They are clearly putting the children first here and that should be a comfort, although of course it's horrible that this has happened to your DD. sad I'm glad to hear she was not hurt or upset.

birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 09:19:54

Thanks Rita that's very helpful advice

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savoycabbage Sat 01-Oct-11 09:21:05

It really does sound like the nursery have handled it really well so far. They must have procedures in place for just such an event.

I think it's quite good really that they didn't tell you when you picked up your dd, it would have been awful for you to have to drive home with your dd afterwards. It sounds like they are really on the ball.

BertieBotts Sat 01-Oct-11 09:21:32

RitaMorgan said that a lot better than I did!

eaglewings Sat 01-Oct-11 09:23:40

I would be reassured that the nursery you have chosen has delt with this so quickly.

They could have kept is quiet, the person viewing the footage could have down nothing etc

But they have acted and they have cameras and that would give me confidence.

If your dd is OK and returns ok next week I would not rush to change anything unless the footage is too bad or the nursery let this woman work with your dd again

RitaMorgan Sat 01-Oct-11 09:24:44

Agree with Bertie about errors of judgement - my 13 month old was winding me up the other day (eating stones and ignoring me!) and I pulled him away with much more force than I intended. DP saw and immediately said "oh we're using yanking as a form of discipline are we? blush I've been much more careful not to yank him since.

ForYourDreamsAreChina Sat 01-Oct-11 09:27:05

I agree that the nursery are handling it well, but also that you are bound to have doubts about leaving your daughter there again.

I guess you just have to see what they say on Monday, and what the actual incident was. In all honesty, I'd have thought that even if it is one incident, that's one too many and quite clearly the person is in the wrong job.

Hope everything goes OK for you.

Lizzylou Sat 01-Oct-11 09:38:31

You poor thing!
I do agree that the way the nursery is handling this would fill me with confidence in it tbh.
It is hard enough going back to work and dealing with the guilt without this, don't tell your family, watch the footage and talk to the nursery. And yes, Bonsoir makes a good point about finding someone for you to talk to about it all.

RumourOfAHurricane Sat 01-Oct-11 09:46:15

Message withdrawn

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 01-Oct-11 09:50:21

honestly, I would say get her out of there. Then, after seeing the footage, if it was really bad I would be straight on the phone to the care commission and social services. The fact that they have phoned you would tell me that this is more serious that this nursery worker acting impulsively.

I have actually been in a similar situation, my daughter was neglected at nursery- also the sixth one I viewed and by far the most expensive, and they said all the right things and ticked every box. I ended up reporting it to the care commission and it was closed down as it turns out there was a lot more going on that I was even remotely aware of. The nursery manager was very good at giving the impression everything was fine- it wasn't.

birdofthenorth Sat 01-Oct-11 09:53:05

Thanks everyone, lots of helpful points of view coming through.

I agree that it could have just been an error of judgement... but that is more likely to lead to the staff member being kept on, which rightly or wrongly would make me much less comfortable when arriving at nursery each day.

DH has a theory that maybe there were existing concerns about this staffer (possibly performance related rather than in terms of child protection), therefore they were looking out for slip ups & were quick to remove her? No way of knowing if that's true or not but if it were I suspect it would mean the suspension is more likely to end in dismissal

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