I refer to the news report “Investigation launched after teacher’s caning leaves red marks on girl” published in FMT today, as well as a video on the incident that has gone viral.
I think it was fruitless for the girl’s mother to argue with the teacher concerned during such a tense situation. She should have spoken to the teacher’s superior or supervisor.
In whichever way we look at it, the video is disturbing. Thus far, we have not heard any statement from the education ministry other than “the case is under investigation”. There are obviously many questions that need answers.
First, what do the rules say on caning in school? Under what circumstances can a girl be caned? Can the caning be done spontaneously and unsupervised? Even caning criminals has rules.
Second, can a teacher, a discipline master or a headmaster react under provocation, that is, can they dish out physical punishment because they are angry?
Third, must parents be formally informed before and after a punishment is meted out? What if there is serious injury?
Fourth, if parents and students are not pleased with the punishment meted out, how do they get their grievances heard? Do they go to the police straight away?
I urge all quarters to look at this case seriously. I am in no position to comment other than ask questions based on the video and the interaction between the teacher and the mother.
TK Chua is a reader of FMT
The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of FMT