A case of bullying at Mee Toh School involving Primary 5 pupils picking on a classmate that was shared widely on social media “is wrong and cannot be tolerated anywhere”, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (March 10), Mr Ong said he was “dismayed and troubled” after finding out that a group of pupils at the school had picked on a Malay classmate, and written her “nasty notes”.
“This is bullying, is wrong and cannot be tolerated anywhere, especially in schools,” he said.
Victim’s sister: “My heart broke”
The case first came to light when Twitter user @4YSLZ posted on March 6 that her sister’s classmates had thrown some notes at her.
She uploaded photos of these notes, which had insults written on them such as “you are dumbo the elephant” and “you look so ugly and you really turn me down, you make puke”.
my heart broke today, it was my sister’s birthday yesterday & one of her classmates threw this to her face as “birthday present”. this is not the first time she has been bullied, she ever came home w her uniform vandalised w markers, being called names & cyber bullied. pic.twitter.com/szIlIcBIIX
— batakab. (@4YSLZ) March 6, 2020
She wrote: “My heart broke today. It was my sister’s birthday yesterday and one of her classmates threw this to her face as ‘birthday present’.”
This post has been retweeted, or shared, more than 4,000 times.
According to the Twitter user, this is not the first case of bullying involving her sister, and she said her sister’s uniform had been scribbled on with markers in the past.
She alleged that her sister, who is one of “only a handful of Malays” in the school in Punggol, has also been called other names and been cyber-bullied.
In a text exchange, the girl revealed that the bullies had also likened her to a dustbin.
Her sister even resorted to eating her lunch in the toilet so that she could “eat and cry at the same time”.
She had made several attempts to flag the issue up to the school, as well as the Ministry of Education (MOE), but to no avail, she said.
“I’ve emailed the school, turned up for her parent-teacher conference to confront her teachers about this, I’ve emailed MOE too. But what have they done? Nothing.”
To add salt to her wounds, her sister was previously made to apologise to the bullies after she scolded them in an attempt to stand up for herself.
A teacher also allegedly told the girl’s mother that she would not be able to switch classes and suggested that she transfer to a different school instead.
The Twitter thread sparked outraged responses from many Singaporeans, including actor Hossan Leong.
Mee Toh School principal and MOE respond
In response to the backlash, a MOE spokesperson told Asiaone that they had investigated the incident and found that several students “wrote unkind notes” to the victim. The students involved will be disciplined.
Mee Toh School’s principal, Wang-Tan Sun Sun, told Asiaone on Tuesday (March 10) that the school met with the victim’s mother and has “provided support” to the student.
“The school does not condone bullying of any form, including racist remarks made at any individual, ” she said.
Education Minister Mr Ong added on his Facebook post: “It does not matter whether the students might have done it out of mischief or that they are only Primary 5 students; the fact is that the victim felt that it was a racist act, and that makes it even more unacceptable.”
(School photo: The Straits Times; screengrab: Twitter)
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