Sabah principal under probe for allegedly sending sex messages to students

Sabah Education and Innovation Minister Yusof Yacob says the principal will be brought before a disciplinary action committee

KOTA KINABALU: The principal of a secondary school in Telipok near here is being investigated for allegedly sending text messages containing sexual or suggestive contents to his students.

Sabah Education and Innovation Minister Yusof Yacob said the principal, however, had been allowed to continue working while the case was being investigated by the disciplinary action committee at departmental level.

He said police were also investigating the matter as some parents whose children had allegedly received the text messages had lodged police reports.

“The principal is going through the first phase of the probe where he is being interviewed by the disciplinary action committee. Students are also being interviewed.

“So far we have yet to get the investigation results. The process is still going on,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the state assembly sitting here today.

A parent who requested anonymity had told The Star her 14-year-old son was among those who had received text messages, containing sexual or suggestive contents.

She said she had reported the matter earlier this month but that nothing seemed to be happening, adding that she had kept most of the text messages sent by the principal, said to be in his early 50s.

The woman decided to go to the media after consulting a lawyer.

Asked why the principal was still working despite the allegations, Yusof said the probe must be completed first. He is unsure how many students have allegedly received such text messages from the principal.

“Because this is a serious case as it involves the parents’ and public interest, it should be handled properly.

“I don’t want to go into conclusions, with action being taken without proper proof and procedures. We need to look into this matter very seriously, not just based on assumptions,” he said.

He added: “Police are also involved, so then we’ll see what’s the action after that.”

Yusof said, however, the principal faced the sack if he was found to be in the wrong.

“This is a reminder to all teachers and their superiors: They shouldn’t exploit the students as it will jeopardise the teaching institution.

“We have a very clear message to teachers – stern action will be taken if they are found guilty (of wrongdoing). If it’s really serious it could even lead to the expulsion of the teachers from service – this is the worst that can happen.”