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Children Ridiculed On Instagram

In August two Virginia child care workers were fired for posting photos of children on Instagram along with mocking and disparaging commentary.  
 
A worker at Heavenly Haven Learning Center 2 posted a picture of a nearly 3-year-old boy with delayed speech development. The photo shows Ethan Jordan sitting in a high chair looking downhearted. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/20/us/instagram-day-care-photos/?hpt=hp_t3
 
The photo was posted by @mz_oneofakind -- later identified as Jena Ferrel, who worked at the center. In her caption to the photo she wrote,"I'm sick of this s***!!!"
 
Heavenly Haven’s manager also commented on the picture of Ethan, posting, "He is thinking cuz sure can't talk."
 
Melissa Jordan, Ethan's mother said, "I was concerned about my child, and I was hurt because I trusted them with Ethan."
 
"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. "What? I pay them to humiliate my child?"
 
Jordan describes her son as good humored and energetic; a child who loves to run. She says the posted photo of Ethan looking sad and sitting in a highchair at the facility is very uncharacteristic and puzzling.
 
"I don't know why he is sitting in a highchair at three-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.
 
Jordan, appeared on the CNN show "New Day" and said she had a message for the child care workers: "If you don't genuinely love and care for children, and if it's not a passion of yours, this isn't something that you should be involved in. If you think it's funny that a child is delayed or if they're not perfect or they have shortcomings, if that's a joke to you or something that you think you should tease about, that's not a job for you."
 
"That's how bullying starts. That's how children become bullies" and insecure, she added.
 
Ferrel refused to talk to reporters and strangely, the manager's name was not disclosed by any of the many news outlets that covered this story.
 
Ethan wasn't the only child whose picture was posted. Ferrel also posted a photo of a boy whose protruding front teeth she compared to those of Mater from the movie "Cars."
 
 Jordan said she contacted a local TV news station (WAVY TV 10) because, "I don't know who these children are. I don't know their parents. I don't know how to get in touch with them. They have to know kids are on the internet being exploited. I don't know how else to tell them.” 
 
Heavenly Haven's operator said the two employees violated the child care's privacy policy and rule prohibiting employees from bringing cameras into the classroom. They have issued an apology to Jordan.
 
The Virginia Department of Social Services is investigating the incident.
 
Every child care business needs to know they can not take pictures or video of the children in their care without express written permission. Doing so violates privacy laws and invites lawsuits.
 
The following forms are available by emailing your request to beth@blockinsurance.net:
 
A Social Media Policy for Enrolled Families form
Employee Policy For Contact With Enrolled Families form , which contains a "no pictures/video/media" provision among others that can help avoid lawsuits).
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