Day Care Workers Fired for Instagramming Kids in Care
byKaitlin StanfordAug 21, 2013
The addictive nature of Instagram, with all its pretty filters, can be pretty powerful. Especially for new parents, whose adorable kids provide endlessly great material for snapshots and video clips. A Vine of your husband falling asleep on the couch while your 2-year-old draws on his face? Totally Instagram-worthy. Your tot and your Golden Retriever bonding during Sesame Street? Post that immediately.
Ah, yes ... it's as though Instagram was invented specifically for all these little new parent moments. But when it comes to other people Instagramming your kid without permission? Hey, now—not cool.
Parents in Newport News, Va. found themselves in that very predicament recently when it was discovered that a worker at Heavenly Haven Learning Center 2 had not only Instagrammed photos of their kids, but also posted them with some pretty inappropriate captions and insinuations.
One such photo was turned into a meme, with a toddler seen resting his head in his hands. The caption above him? "I'M SICK OF THIS SH*T!" Another showed a split-screen view, comparing a close-up of one little boy to a "character" from Disney's movie Cars—and not one of the sleek, cool-looking sports cars, either. The kid was compared to Mater, a beat-up, rusty truck with a toothy grin.
Needless to say, the parents are not amused. It was Melissa Jordan, mother of the boy seen sitting in a high chair, who first discovered the photos. And according to WAVY-TV, she was both heartbroken and furious.
"I don't know why he is sitting in a highchair at 3 years old. I don't know how long he's been in the highchair. He looks so pathetic and miserable. He looks so defeated in that picture," Jordan said.
The image was apparently made by Jena Ferrel (aka "mz_oneofakind") and commented on by one of the day care's managers who wrote "he is thinking cuz sure can't talk." That comment is particularly hurtful considering the boy, Ethan, has delayed speech development—already a worry for his mother.
"I was disgusted, and my feelings were hurt because they are making fun of Ethan because he isn't able to talk. They are making a joke out of him," Jordan said. "I pay them to humiliate my child?"
In the days since, Virginia social services have launched an investigation and Heavenly Haven has fired both employees, issuing the following statement to the news station who first pursued the story:
Thank you, Wavy Tv10, clients, family & friends for giving A Heavenly Haven an opportunity to clear any doubts you may have about the care and love we give to our children and their families. A Heavenly Haven, myself and the staff ask that you please forgive us for any actions that have surfaced regarding allegations. We would also like to take this time to publicly apologize to Ms. Jordan and her family. A Heavenly Haven's position on the actions of the employees involved zero tolerance, and the employee's have been terminated. A Heavenly Haven is a Christian-based Childcare Development Center that has served the Peninsula for over 15 years. We have an excellent record and long term relationship with many families we have served on the Peninsula. This incident, caused by an employee, does not reflect who we are as a childcare provider nor will it deter us from providing a safe and nurturing environment for our children.