Child Denied Access to Parent While in School Room
Only BOE Not DOL Can Excuse Absences
186-5.1 Educational Requirements requires employers to provide a location teacher significantly increasing production costs, particularly for independent productions, risking loss of film, television and theatrical productions in New York. In addition, this provision directly contradicts the SAG rule that a parent should be within “sight and sound” of their child at all times, denies child performers access to their parent and does not provide a remedy to unexcused absences as the Board of Education, not the Department of Labor, has jurisdiction over absences.
“(d) Alternative educational requirements: (1) If a child performer is guaranteed three or more consecutive days of employment, the child performer’s employer shall employ a teacher from the first day of such employment, whenever the minor is employed on any day during which the primary or secondary school regularly attended by the child performer is in session. When the child performer is employed for performances planned on the production schedule for only two consecutive days and it is subsequently determined that additional calls will be necessary, the child performer’s employer shall provide a teacher on the third day of such employment and on each day thereafter during which the primary or secondary school regularly attended by the child performer is in session.”
“(5) During periods of instruction, no one shall be allowed in the location designated by the employer for instruction except the teacher and those child performers being taught.”
“(10) A child performer receiving instruction from a teacher provided pursuant to this section shall not be declared absent from school while working pursuant to the permit requirements in accordance with this Part as a child performer provided that all work, grades, and credit that the child performer completes with a teacher provided under this Subpart are accepted by the child performer’s school district.”
Why § 186-5.1(d)(1) Will Increase Production Costs
Although education is of paramount importance, the cost of this provision mandating that teachers be provided if the employer expects the child performer to work three or more consecutive days, will increase costs and become a factor for production companies faced with selecting a “production friendly” state. This new requirement will affect the growing number of independent productions.
Why § 186-5.1 d)(5) Endangers The Safety Of Child Performers
This provision fails to provide a child access to their parent to ensure their physical and mental well being and directly contradicts the SAG rule that a parent should be within “sight and sound” of their child at all times. Perhaps this well intentioned provision could be amended to provide “no one except a child’s parent or guardian shall be allowed . . . “
It is reasonable to expect that child performers receive uninterrupted educational instruction but unreasonable and unduly detrimental to prohibit “sight and sound” access and monitoring by their parent, should the need arise. Public and private school teachers are well vetted, known to their students and operate in a well supervised, open setting. Educational institutions allow for reasonable parental access to their child during school hours. To deny a child performer on location the same safety net is jeopardize their physical and mental health safety.
Why § 186-5.1 d)(5) Fails Homeschooled Children
This provision fails to provide for child performers who are homeschooled. Under this provision, homeschoolers will have no access to their parent teacher who provides for their educational instruction.
Why § 186-5.1(10) Doesn’t Solve The Unexcused Absence Problem
Although this provision is well intentioned as child performers routinely face “unexcused absence” threats, the Department of Labor does not have jurisdiction over educational matters. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, are exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Department of Education. This provision does nothing to solve a very real problem for child performers.