Parental Monitoring: Nursery School In Italy Introduces Classroom Webcam

After several notorious cases of abuse of very young students elsewhere in Italy, a private nursery school in Ravenna allows parents to check in on their kids – and teachers -- any time of the day.

An Italian nursery school (Simone Ramella)
An Italian nursery school (Simone Ramella)

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

For some Italian parents, that morning drop-off is apparently just too much to bear.

Responding to both growing security fears and the everyday pangs of parenthood, a nursery school in the eastern city of Ravenna has installed a webcam system that will allow mothers and fathers to follow their child's every move.

Parents at the small "Pargoli" private pre-school will be given a password to allow them to check-in online to have a look at their little ones, and their teachers, who will be monitored by two cameras installed in the one-room facility.

The novelty comes in the wake of several episodes of alleged abuse by teachers in Italian schools, including one notorious case at the Cip Ciop school in the Tuscan city of Pistoia, where children were hit, locked in bathrooms and forced to stand still for long periods of times.

Giuseppe Greco, a Pargoli official, said the cameras "offer security and transparency" for both parents and school employees. But he emphasized that the system is not just about safety. "When parents leave us their child for 10 hours a day, it's nice if they have a moment on their lunch break to be able to watch what their child is doing," he said.

Indeed, the idea for the classroom webcam came originally from the parents themselves, but required necessary approvals from local authorities before being implemented at the start of this school year. Greco said there will be no camera in the school's bathroom, because of privacy concerns.

Read more from La Stampa in Italian

photo - Simone Ramella

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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"The Truest Hypocrisy" - The Russia-NATO Clash Seen From Moscow

Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.

NATO chief Stoltenberg and Russian Foregin Minister Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS via ZUMA
Pavel Tarasenko and Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative

These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."

In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."

The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.

Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.

NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.

The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."

Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."

The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.

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