The director of the kindergarten Heilsuleikskólinn Kærabær in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, South Iceland, is accused of having tied a child to a chair with a scarf as punishment because it would not sit still and eat its food, visir.is reports.
The issue came up when another child at the kindergarten told its parents what had happened. The director denied the accusation but an adult witness, upon contacting local authorities, confirmed the child’s description to visir.is.
The parents of the child, who allegedly suffered the abuse, say that the case is being processed by local authorities, explaining that they have discussed it with a social worker with another meeting scheduled this week.
The director is still employed at the kindergarten and in an interview with Fréttablaðið she stated that the allegations were not true.
Bragi Guðbrandsson, director of the Child Protection Authority, said he hadn’t heard of the incident but stated that tying down a child is against the law.
“It’s absolutely clear that this is a poor child-raising method. It’s a punishment, and the law states that all punishments, physical or mental, are indictable ... All such methods are likely to harm the child psychologically,” Bragi maintained.
“Even though it is sometimes very difficult for teachers to handle kids that seem out of control, this is no way to raise a child,” he added.
In August 2013, the kindergarten Leikskólinn 101 in Reykjavík was closed for good on suspicion of violence, including spanking.
Recently, however, the prosecutor decided to suspend the proceedings against one of the teachers who had confessed in the matter.
According to mbl.is, the parents’ association of children in kindergartens in Reykjavík condemns the verdict, reasoning that it compromises children’s unequivocal right to safety in kindergartens.
The verdict has also been criticized by Ombudsman for Children Margrét María Sigurðardóttir, who discussed the matter on RÚV’s news magazine Kastljós yesterday.
The Welfare Committee of Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, is currently reviewing the law on child protection from 2009, to ensure that spanking falls under the definition of violence so that it will be made punishable by law, visir.is reports.