Summary & Reaction

January 17, 2011
You’re a single parent of four children. You live in the midst of a dangerous, grim ghetto, constantly surrounded by violence and sin. You have no definite home; simply live day by day, place by place. But it’s not simple. It’s not easy.

Living under these poor conditions, it is typical for parents to drop off their kids at a child-care and search for a job. Though there are multiple day-care centers throughout inner cities and suburbs, parents need to scrutinize and evaluate the organizations on their interiors as well as exteriors.

According to Camilo Jose Vergara, author of “Iron Bars and Razor Wires,” most of the American day-cares (located in deprived areas—poverty) are more comparable to a prison than a child-care center.

“Children spend their days in windowless rooms or on playgrounds surrounded by cyclone fences topped with razor ribbon wire.” Vergara states in his article, “When they go out for a stroll, they walk, holding hands, along streets lined with empty buildings and vacant lots filled with trash and rubble.”

However, when Vergara confronts the designers, they respond by saying they have to build the centers like this in order to prevent theft of furniture, equipment and even food.

Upon reviewing various pictures of examples of these day-cares (attached in the article) Vergara’s insights seem factual. Nearly all of the photos show old, run-down, vandalized buildings that appear vacant. If the buildings are fortunate enough to have windows, steel bars are bolted across them. And if they have the opportunity to have a playground, fences topped with barbed wires enclose them.

Is this really necessary? Yes children should feel safe, and it is essential for a secure environment: however, trapping kids in windowless, decrepit, and perhaps unhealthy centers is iniquitous. These kids are already distressed from constantly moving, or being dependent on one meal to satisfy their hunger for days, or encountering violence at any moment; they deserve better. Child-care centers should be a place that children look forward to—a place comfort and happiness.

Are these child-care centers giving onlookers the impression that children of poverty are dangerous, and need to be imprisoned? Is the severe appearance suggesting the permanence of American ghettos? …Or is it a call for help—a cry for guidance? You decide.

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