There was viral video circulating a week ago of daycare workers wearing a mask similar to the one in the iconic movie franchise “Scream.” In the video the workers were seen terrorizing children.
This happened at a Mississippi daycare called Lil’ Blessings Child Care & Learning Center.
It appears that the premise of the “prank” if you can call it that was to scare the kids into picking up after themselves and punish the kids who had been “bad.” Ignoring the obvious fact that this is not at all best practice for getting small children to comply, it is also unambiguously cruel as young children are often unable to discern what is real vs fake. The children can be seen crying and screaming throughout the whole video.
The actual video of the event is every bit as bad as the description makes it sound. So, it came as little surprise to anyone that when the video went viral the workers were quickly charged … no surprise to anyone except the workers.
Sierra McCandless, Oci-Anna Kilburn, Jennifer Newman, and Shyenne Mills, have all been charged with three counts of felony child abuse. Traci Hutson has been charged with failure to report abuse by a mandatory reporter according to Monroe County.
But there is a lesson to be learned here. As I looked at the mugshots of the workers a couple of things dawned on me:
- They didn’t need the mask.
- They probably had no idea it would end like this.
The people in this video made a mistake that many teachers make: Assuming that what you are doing is okay because everyone around you is doing it.
There are things that teachers know they shouldn’t do. Typically, they do those things in secret as to not get caught. That was not the case here. Obviously, they should have known better, but when everyone around you is engaged in the same idiocy it becomes easier to justify your actions no matter how ridiculous.
This can look like teachers not meeting expectations for grading or it can look like people throwing on a scream mask and terrorizing toddlers. Either way, it is important to have your own moral compass that points true north, not relative north. Just because everyone in the room is laughing and playing along as you scare impressionable toddlers doesn’t mean the general public will too.
If you are a teacher especially at a dysfunctional school, you likely have your choice of inappropriate behaviors or habits that are more less ignored or even encouraged. I was once on a grade level team where people were making up grades to meet the quota. I would be lying if I say I never considered how much quicker that would be, but at the end of the day I know that is not what we are supposed to be doing, and it is also unethical. Just for the record, those teachers got caught. But even if they got away with it, that shouldn’t change the calculus in your personal decision making.
I know someone in that room considered the possibility that maybe wearing a slasher movie mask and intimidating toddlers into cleaning up toys wasn’t a good idea, but they did it anyway. Now they are paying the price.