Childcare facilities should have Carbon Monoxide detectors!

Thankfully a disaster was averted in Winnipeg the other day when brand new (only installed a week ago) Carbon Monoxide detectors went off early in the day at the Peek-A-Boo Infant Child Centre. See this news item by Carol Sanders and Adam Wazny regarding how a total of 54 children and 19 staff were saved from serious harm or even death. How? Because no one present would have known something was wrong until it was too late because the gas has no smell. The good news is that as of April 1st, 2011, the Province of Manitoba will require CO detectors, not only in home-based child care facilities, but everywhere there is a child care centre.

Now, just out of curiosity, I did a Google search to see if there were any requirements in Ontario for such detectors. Remember, Ontario now has an Early Learning Program (ELP), full-day kindergarten by another name, in hundreds of Ontario schools. As a result, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in the hallways of all schools, if not at least in the areas where there is pre-school and kindergarten aged children.  

Well, I couldn’t find any such legislation for Ontario. It doesn’t mean it is not there but it was not readily available.  So, let this latest near catastrophe be a wakeup call for the rest of Canada. Something that the Ontario PCs can consider. Will it cost money? Yes, but surely savings can be realized elsewhere in order to protect our most vulnerable.

School safety: Are teachers still “in place of” parents?

When I went to teacher’s college, it was drilled into us that, as teachers, we would have a tremendous amount of responsibility because we were “in loco parentis” or “in place of parents.”

Now, what exactly does that mean? To me, at that time, it meant that teachers (under the authority of their principal) were to be responsible for the safety of their students in their classrooms or when they were on supervision in the hallways or the school yard. In fact, we were told we were legally responsible during such times of supervision. It was that serious an issue.

However, times seem to have changed so slowly, few may have noticed that “in loco parentis” no longer seems to apply. While I know all school boards and principals do their utmost to protect the children and youth in their care, and most classroom teachers really do watch out for their students, parents need to know what is happening.
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