Alabama Journey Church-Run Day Care Workers Charged With Sickening Physical Abuse of Children Under Two Years Old Caught on Video.

“To have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking.” – George MacDonald.


When I read this story, it reminded me of another story TWW covered Fourteen Small Children Reportedly Molested at NewSpring Church Even Though Jesus Is Their Lead Pastor. Here is a brief excerpt.

Fox News reported: South Carolina megachurch camera caught man performing sex act on 3-year-old: cops.

Surveillance video caught a South Carolina church volunteer performing a sex act on a 3-year-old child on Sunday, authorities said.

Jacop Robert Lee Hazlett, 28, a volunteer at NewSpring Church in North Charleston, was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, South Carolina’s WCSC-TV reported. A judge denied bond.

The volunteer escorted the boy to a restroom in the church and performed oral sex on him before pulling up the 3-year-old’s pants, the station reported, citing the affidavit. The act was caught on a camera positioned outside the bathroom, an investigator said.

The problem was evident immediately. The church had video footage of the children’s area, but had anyone reviewed it? The footage reportedly clearly showed those lovely children being abused. If one of those “important” leaders had taken a minute to look at the videos, they could have prevented much of the abuse.

Journey Church Daycare workers charged with abusing children under two years old.

The Christian Post reported Journey Church day care workers charged with child abuse: ‘Like something out of a horror story’

Chief Assistant District Attorney C.J. Robinson of the 19th Judicial Circuit said the abuse suffered by at least seven children under the age of 2 at the hands of three former workers at a day care run by Journey Church of the River Region in Prattville, Alabama, was “like something out of a horror story.”

The former workers — Alice Sorrells, Leah Livingston and Susan Baker, who previously worked for East Memorial Baptist Church’s day care center before it closed in December —  have all been charged with one count each of felony child abuse and failure to report child abuse as a court-mandated reporter.

The Montgomery Advertiser wrote ‘Sickening’: Workers in Prattville church-run day care charged with felony child abuse.

The alleged victims are identified as seven children younger than age two. More charges are expected to be filed and possibly more victims discovered, he said. He said there could be as many as 11 victims.

How it was, was not, and should have been discovered.

According to the Elmore-Autauga News:

Questions arose when a potential employee was shadowing other daycare workers and shared concerns of what she saw to church officials. “That person did exactly what you’re supposed to do. If you see something, say something. They were willing to do that. They were brave enough to do that,” Robinson said.

That individual apparently reported this abuse to Journey Church which then called the authorities.

Robinson referred to the investigation being done by the Prattville Police Department. He explained that several weeks ago, authorities were contacted by Journey Church into the possibility of child abuse in the daycare, pertaining to children under two-years-old.

He stressed that staff at Journey Church have been completely cooperative with this investigation. The three suspects were terminated immediately when allegations came to light.

Families with children in the daycare have been contacting the Prattville Police Department with their concerns.

Read this next part very carefully.

Robinson praised Journey Church for having video surveillance in place and encouraged other daycares to do the same.

Let me review the chronology here.

  1. A potential employee saw the abuse and reported it to Journey Church. (Folks, always remember one should call the police if one views child abuse.)
  2. Journey Chruch called the police.
  3. The police responded and were able to confirm the abuse due to video surveillance.

Who was responsible for viewing the videos?

Was the church reviewing the videos daily?  I would assume they were not since I’m sure they would have tried to deal with the abuse. Also, the church has a leader in the preschool program, Leann Manning. What was her role? Did she patrol the preschool regularly? Did she review the video at the end of each day?

According to the Montgomery Advertiser:

“Church leaders and management of the day care center have cooperated from the beginning,” Robinson said. “As soon as there were allegations of abuse they contacted Prattville police. They have done everything you would expect to assist in the investigation.”

The children were subjected to physical abuse including striking, shoving and punching, Robinson said.

The abuse was captured on video.

How could such severe abuse evade the oversight of the preschool leader? Were the three women who were arrested skilled at deceiving others? They reportedly had worked together at another daycare which is not being investigated.However, they were not able to conceal it from the video. This leaves me with these questions.

Why did the church leaders and preschool leaders not review the videos regularly? Could there be lawsuits in the near future?


Comments

Alabama Journey Church-Run Day Care Workers Charged With Sickening Physical Abuse of Children Under Two Years Old Caught on Video. — 45 Comments

  1. Ughh, the Hazlett guy mentioned at the beginning of the article is utterly sickening. At least he was given 75 years in prison
    (https://www.postandcourier.com/news/75-years-for-former-north-charleston-church-volunteer-who-molested-congregations-children/article_ad65f442-1cee-11ea-b50b-5b7c76593450.html).

    It looks like his appeal was dismissed in March of this year: (https://law.justia.com/cases/south-carolina/court-of-appeals/2022/2022-up-123.html)

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  2. “a potential employee” visiting was the reporter. An observer not yet on the payroll. This is an important point.

    Everyone on the payroll, who are daily witnesses, said nothing about what was going on right under their noses every day at work.

    Nothing like selling your soul to the devil for your job. If the visitor could see what in the world was up, sure thing everyone who worked there knew but kept quiet. Complicit.

    Lots of this in church orgs, ‘ya think?

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  3. If you have 8 or 9 cameras, it is likely you will not be able to view them all daily, unless you really fast forward them to the point of them being unintelligible. At least the church reported it, provided the evidence to law enforcement, and cooperated is better than many we have seen. For a 10 hour day that is 80 or 90 hours of video.

    While this visitor did not report it (Had not done any “orientation” where they cover reporting requirements? ) the church appears to have followed proper procedure as soon as it came to their attention. It is a stretch to assume that the other workers knew of this. Daycares are pulled rather thin on staff now. Likely this sociopath made sure that he was where others and the cameras were less likely to observe him. With this unexpected visitor, he messed up, and thankfully got caught. Better solution is more staff, and lots of glass. Cameras provide evidence after the fact. Glass everywhere and random visits by leadership and even parents are your friend, and hopefully these sorts can spend forever in a concrete box.

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  4. The Journey Church Preschool Handbook:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20220510024626/https://myjourneychurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/JCP-Parent-Handbook-updated-8_30_2021.pdf

    DISCIPLINE
    The Philosophy of Journey Church Preschool is based on spiritual growth and development. The belief is that children learn appropriate behavior through watching others, model teacher, spiritual growth, self-concept, and social relationships. It is important that children are taught and understand limitations, but more importantly, children need to know that they are in a loving environment.

    TEACHER-CHILD RATIOS
    We require that our staff be responsible and caring people with Christian convictions. We require that they have passionate love for small children and knowledge of their development. They participate in continued training of professional advancement in order to remain alert to the ever-changing needs of today’s families and changes in our community. Our classroom-student ration will meet or exceed the DHR standards below but not fall below the DHR guidelines.

    ======================================

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  5. Judas Maccabeus: If you have 8 or 9 cameras, it is likely you will not be able to view them all daily, unless you really fast forward them to the point of them being unintelligible.

    Cameras provide a record. But a visitor saw the problem and immediately reported without hesitation what she/he saw. Eyeballs, boots on the ground.

    If a visitor saw it, the employees saw the same, and already knew what was going on but never reported. That’s the problem. No excuses.

    “Questions arose when a potential employee was shadowing other daycare workers and shared concerns of what she saw to church officials. ‘That person did exactly what you’re supposed to do. If you see something, say something. They were willing to do that. They were brave enough to do that,’ Robinson said.”

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  6. Todd Wilhelm: ever-changing needs of today’s families and changes in our community

    That sounds a bit ambiguous to me, a bit political (material dialectic) if you get my drift. Is this like the authorities that told us children we should consider “having” sex before marriage (not the light hearted tittle tattle from our peers). Like the BBC which decided what was suitable in front of traumatised studio cameramen? This is the modern world, you know.

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  7. I find it telling that you can take a basic Christian foundational 101 truth like eternity with either reward or eternal separation from God, bring it up on a Christian blog somewhere and get the kinds of comments I got in the last post. Those comments speak for themselves.

    Forget “gifts” as those tend to be overblown today which people arguing too much for or against, or someone claiming to have had a glimpse of the afterlife. Just go back to what is written and what is recorded that our Lord Jesus Christ has said about such things as well as many other authors in those texts. Not that I have said anything contrary to what those authors say. And it is also not what is said but what is not said when this topic comes up. Does anyone claiming Jesus Christ actually believe what he so clearly said? Should the D.A.’s office blow these new cases with multiple screwed up trials does justice still exist, or is Jesus Christ a fable and what is written just lies?

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  8. Mr. Jesperson: … get the kinds of comments I got in the last post.

    You don’t appear to handle disagreement well. Many beliefs considered essential and foundational by some groups of Christians today were either not believed at all or not considered essential in early Christianty. The nature and duration of hell is just one example. Citing your dreams and personal divine revelation to make your points, and then getting upset when others don’t agree, is not the best way to establish your credibility.

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  9. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “But we have DNA here !!! !!! !!!”

    (leave DNA to the amoeba and the algae, and like slime, IMO)

    Steve Baughman actually intuited that RZ is distorting the message of Daniel (even if he doesn’t articulate it like that) (similarly as another agnostic, Alfred Whitehead, could tell us some things about the Kingdom of God).

    But almost all “evangelicals” have been doing what RZ has been doing. I don’t see how we can have “apologetics” so based on unbelief. Eschaton started at Ascension (not Pentecost), ministry includes tarrying, Kingdom comprises trading talents with each other: that’s what the public will recognise if they see it.

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  10. dee: I believe that churches should post that the classrooms are being filmed but no one is looking at the footage.

    They should also post that they don’t report child abuse in plain sight, as in noted and reported by visitors.

    They don’t care about child abuse.

    Under their watch, child abuse gets a pass.

    Violators just keep on violating children… “all abuse welcome here.”

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  11. Ken F (aka Tweed): Many beliefs considered essential and foundational by some groups of Christians today were either not believed at all or not considered essential in early Christianty.

    It is also the case that the number of Christians actually familiar with the contents of the bible are vanishingly few. Those who are, can usually be relied on to say something which will upset those who do not.
    Even something like quoting Job reflecting on the origin of evil, for example.

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  12. John: Thanks, Bruce Ashford. What’s more important? Truth or comedy?

    What’s a little stretching of the truth among friends?

    25 days after Bruce Ashford told me he was working on changing his blog bio to remove the statement that he serves as Provost and Professor at SEBTS it remains unchanged. He hasn’t been employed at SEBTS since October 2020.

    https://twitter.com/ThouArtTheMan/status/1524217182300823554?s=20&t=waJC18ArRWfqb-HpjWaRxg

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  13. Ken F (aka Tweed) on Tue May 10, 2022 at 12:44 PM said:
    “Many beliefs considered essential and foundational by some groups of Christians today were either not believed at all or not considered essential in early Christianty.”

    I hold to the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed as non-negotiable parameters up-front and on the table because it affords me a wide latitude of intellectual freedom and freedom of conscience.
    The rest of the stuff?
    I pick and choose as I see fit.

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  14. dee:
    Judas Maccabeus,

    Most preschools prominently display that they have video surveillance in all of the classrooms. Many parents assume that this means the classrooms are being monitored in real-time or at least after the fact. I believe that churches should post that the classrooms are being filmed but no one is looking at the footage.

    Unless there is suspicion of a problem, which is what happened. I will admit that there was abysmal supervision here. Likely poor to no training of workers. In ALL cases parents should be the ones picking up their children unannounced, and multiple random visits by the administration per day. What you appear to have here is a combination of a lazy supervisor and bad workers. Of note, this happens in secular commercial daycares as well.

    I suspect COVID restrictions has made this worse. Kept parents out of the center.

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  15. Todd Wilhelm,

    TRIGGER WARNING

    1 – the predominant reaction a few weeks ago seemed to be that he isn’t ill, it’s not lack of people around him to help. I think that in addition to what pressures built up around the seminary and church (and we know ones of that ideology contain inbuilt pressures), I think it is illness AND lack of people around AS WELL. Obviously a sudden break in mid academic term is unusual. I think a moderately wealthy (hitherto) institution should afford to detail or second someone to follow him around for a few months and literally give him a hand with some practicalities.

    2 – Bruce’s remarks based on Philip Rieff together with something I read three days ago and the recollection that has been shaking me to the core for the last few years, makes me think this point in this thread is as good as any to reintroduce some very serious matters which I hope to return to again and again and I wish to invite all your insights (with Dee’s & Todd’s kindly permission).

    3 – Rieff had pointed out that a social elite sometimes trashes things to effect change. Among interrelated comments on another blog a clergyman (not from England) was pointing out how in his religious elite, similarly to some others, a system operates in which a middle rank arranges for some juniors to do some seniors some sort of “favours”. He is hated by them all because he refuses to “take part” and believes he is relatively rare in this, and thus feels isolated. What really stood out for me, were the last few words in one of his paragraphs:

    “Within a generation or so this can change many things in an institution.”

    4 – I now turn to what happened around me and was aimed at me and my peers in my later childhood. County council teachers trained to Ministry of Education standards told us boys just turned 14 that we SHOULD consider “having” sex outside marriage. This was not a stray remark by some awkward old biology teacher, and it was certainly not light hearted playground tittle tattle. It was authority. It was during one of those horrible manipulative new fangled “discussion lessons” that started up that year. Not all kids get trained or supported in articulacy – especially not on intense personal matters – or wish to differ from authority. We were placed in an unfair place being younger and more powerless.

    I find it ghoulish. The respectable world. Ghoulish towards us where we were supposed to feel safe and love languages, sciences, history, thinking, writing, reading, maths, crafts, and hanging out. Not picked on for “purposes”.

    That was 1969.

    I don’t get reactions from my equals nowadays, in England or from further afield. I don’t get insights from women and I don’t get insights from men.

    Apologetists point fingers at subsequent generations. There is this hair trigger quick defence of women around abortion – which is connected to the r**e plague.

    5 – Now look at Russ Parker who proposes representational confession which is what Daniel was doing. The power bloc in “evangelicalism” has refused to do this and rebels against doing this.

    6 – What part do the successive waves of elite preachers have in failing to pray for what is going on around ordinary people and people with secular responsibilities and defending all in prayer?

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  16. What part do elite preachers have in failing to pray (quietly) for secular authorities that their hands be directed away from wrongs and into right doing? A humane, politically acceptable, moral and Scriptural thing they omitted and have made omitting it an implicitly predominant feature of so called “faith”.

    What actually tied the hands of the religious power grabbers to skew Christianity away from most of the truth?

    7 – Religious authorities having taught us all NOT to pray for THEM themselves EITHER, what part are we now called to have in reversing the ripple effect. To forget using trendiness or image, and dumbing down, as power for our then non existent self determination.

    Because that is what the topic of warnings that Mr Jesperson keeps bringing up in his style, and which we have gone into more in the last couple of days, is for.

    Why wait till someone does things to children and other adults, repugnant to some. Why not critique doctrine and theology which is linked to such “unscriptural” and “unbiblical” neglect to be SALT, and to each other first. This is why it has become thrown out and trod down.

    Some new apostolic restorationists I knew, believe church members should NOT pray for the fruitful conduct of church administration.

    Why do the thousands sit down and eat first, and why do they collect (a mere dozen snake baskets full) afterwards for missions?

    What are Jesus’ parables about, what is the OT about after all.

    How gospelly really, is the megaphoners and megapastors’ gospelly stuff? Why would good news (and not crabby nastiness) be “so great” salvation? Does God actually see what we face? Is He trying to do us a favour by sending Another Comforter?

    (Important aside: we could comment, nicely, on the presentation of each others’ points, more often, in order to elicit clarity in cases of possible non sequiturs.)

    8 – It got to the point where most of us have triggers and we have to go into uncharted territory to build up unprecedented logical connections: to be pioneers. I commented more than I had earlier planned to, to the last three or four threads (the input from C&MA members made me realise how shocked I’ve been – shocked and frozen) and shall look at them again and would value all your feedback (blog owners kind permitting permitting).

    9 – My Our Fathers and Glory Be’s are muttered in your intention as well as the world and everybody . . .

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  17. Muff Potter: I hold to the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed as non-negotiable parameters up-front and on the table

    It’s a great standard. But even such an ancient creed gets badly misunderstood these days. For example, many protestants don’t understand the line about Jesus descending into hell, so they either remove it from the creed or reject the creed altogether. But that line is a very powerful statement about Jesus defeating death.

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  18. Judas Maccabeus: Better solution is more staff, and lots of glass. Cameras provide evidence after the fact. Glass everywhere and random visits by leadership and even parents are your friend

    At the Sunday school and preschool we used (two different places), every door had glass in it. Staffing was adequate or ample. Training and background checks were thoroughly done and well understood.

    Parents always had appropriate access; I never felt barred from checking on children.

    I would stay away from a place that barred parental access, or tried to keep the youngest children on a rigid routine. I would also stay away from a place that had zero oversight of parents—or anyone else—walking around.

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  19. Judas Maccabeus:
    If you have 8 or 9 cameras, it is likely you will not be able to view them all daily, unless you really fast forward them to the point of them being unintelligible.At least the church reported it, provided the evidence to law enforcement, and cooperated is better than many we have seen.For a 10 hour day that is 80 or 90 hours of video.

    While this visitor did not report it (Had not done any “orientation” where they cover reporting requirements? ) the church appears to have followed proper procedure as soon as it came to their attention.It is a stretch to assume that the other workers knew of this.Daycares are pulled rather thin on staff now.Likely this sociopath made sure that he was where others and the cameras were less likely to observe him.With this unexpected visitor, he messed up, and thankfully got caught.Better solution is more staff, and lots of glass.Cameras provide evidence after the fact.Glass everywhere and random visits by leadership and even parents are your friend, and hopefully these sorts can spend forever in a concrete box.

    A daycare could (and should, IMHO) have a ‘belt *and* suspenders’ approach, where there’s glass for lots of visibility, plus cameras to have a record (maybe a good idea to have the cameras be web accessible via a link for parents – so the workers never know if they’re being watched or not). But really, I think people would be naive to assume that just b/c there’s video surveillance, that it’s being actively monitored. Like, daycares have budget problems as it is, just trying to maintain staffing to take care of the kids – let alone having to hire people to review 8-10 hours of footage from 6 or 8 cameras, every single day.

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  20. Ken F (aka Tweed): many protestants don’t understand the line about Jesus descending into hell, so they either remove it from the creed or reject the creed altogether. But that line is a very powerful statement about Jesus defeating death

    Many Protestants don’t read Scripture, pray as they ought, nor seek the Holy Spirit to teach them … so they have no inner ability to understand the things of faith. Instead, they rely on the teachings and traditions of men and have no spiritual bearing to distinguish truth from error.

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  21. dee: Most preschools prominently display that they have video surveillance in all of the classrooms.

    Back when video sureveillance was just starting out in businesses, it was common to have “SHOPLIFTERS BEWARE” placards up pointing to DUMMY cameras whose only electronics was a 9V batttery and blinking red light. Dummy cameras were a lot cheaper.

    Before they went “All Outrage, All The Time”, local afternoon drive-time radio called it “Kabuki”, i.e. putting on an act PRETENDING they were doing something.

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  22. Rich: (maybe a good idea to have the cameras be web accessible via a link for parents – so the workers never know if they’re being watched or not)

    This might be a valid approach when individual workers are private employees in a home with a small child. I would not favor it in a school, though. The school should provide supervision. Teachers and aides should not feel like they are under surveillance. Teachers should be able to manage classrooms.

    In my view, parents should not have constant access to video of the whole classroom. That would let every family watch every child, even though schools have to abide by state and federal laws about confidentiality. Some parents would spend all day watching the other children, especially if their own child was not getting along with someone. Camera logistics would be complicated when kids go to different rooms, gym, hallways, playground, etc.

    Hackers could create havoc with a web-accessible school camera system.

    Just my two cents’ worth, as a barely reformed member of the helicopter parent generation… 🙂

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  23. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Because that is how so many Preachers do it! ( i.e. quote verse out of context that suites your current agenda)…
    In many ways it is just the logical path that was started during the reformation… throw out tradition, and in the US elevate personal “independence/liberty”… All scripture is directed at “ME”, and how “I” read it in 21st Century “Merica”…. Screw the past, except when I want to lament “how good it use to be”!

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  24. Headless Unicorn Guy: They may not read it, Max, but they can sure Quote it as a weapon.
    With ZERO understanding.
    Each Verse a completely-independent MP3 playback, with no connection to any other Verse.

    Oh yeah, there are warrior “Christians” armed with Scripture bullets, which they use to defend their particular religious fortresses. They have no connection with the whole of the Bible. Once you counter their pet verses with spiritual knowledge and wisdom, they usually shut up and go away.

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  25. Max on Wed May 11, 2022 at 09:49 AM said:

    “Many Protestants don’t read Scripture, pray as they ought, nor seek the Holy Spirit to teach them … so they have no inner ability to understand the things of faith. Instead, they rely on the teachings and traditions of men and have no spiritual bearing to distinguish truth from error.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    well,…..it’s *darn* frustrating when there are so many different versions of ‘biblical’ truth.

    i go to one church, A is biblical.

    i go to another church, A is righteously declared ‘unbiblical’ because B is biblical.

    i go to another church, and neither A nor B are declared unbiblical, but somehow C is more biblical than the other options.
    .
    .
    i’m totally over it. and i’m tired of laughing at the absurdity of it all. i don’t give a rat’s @$$ what any hat says. i’ll study and come to my own conclusions according to my own integrity.

    then go for a skate and relish the sunset.

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  26. Ava Aaronson: The whole of the Bible… good point. No cherry picking, not a smorgasbord.

    While all expressions of faith are guilty of this in various degrees, the New Calvinists are particularly bad about cherry-picking Scripture and taking text out of context to support their theology. The new reformers primarily camp out in Paul’s epistles and avoid the Gospels like Covid. When I have the opportunity, I tell a NeoCal that if they read Paul first they might miss Jesus but if they read Jesus first (the Gospels), the writings of Paul will come into perspective.

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  27. Friend: I would stay away from a place that barred parental access,

    Yes. HOWEVER, during COVID we were forbidden by the health department to let anyone in except staff and children. Our people had to pick up and deliver the children at the door.

    I would lead a board revolt if our director suggested making anything from cameras visible online. There are just too many people who would tune in, and I do not mean the parents of the children either. Hacking baby cams is a thing, my friends in IT tell me, and one of my friends just tossed hers in the trash.

    The only solution is MBWA. Management by wandering around, preferably at random.

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  28. elastigirl on Wed May 11, 2022 at 06:19 PM said:
    “i’m totally over it. and i’m tired of laughing at the absurdity of it all. i don’t give a rat’s @$$ what any hat says. i’ll study and come to my own conclusions according to my own integrity.”

    I feel the same way elastigirl, and I have plenty of my own conclusions too.

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