The Education Ministry on Tuesday ordered a probe into an alleged caning by a secondary school teacher of a female student.
“I received a report on the (alleged) incident in which a teacher caned the student after she called him ah qua lao shi (effeminate teacher) in the school corridor for no reason,” Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said.
“I have instructed the district Education Department to investigate so that justice is served for both parties, the teacher and the student involved,” he added.
The issue stemmed from a series of photos of the student’s injuries, showing welt marks on her arms and legs, and a two-minute and 28-second video clip on social media showing a teacher being scolded by a woman who was believed to be the student’s mother while the teacher was seen explaining himself. The video was said to have been shot inside the school.
“Any form of violence on students must be rejected,” Maszlee said, while appealing to the public to stop circulating the photos and videos to maintain the privacy of both teacher and student.
He said he was confident that the issue will be resolved in accordance with standard operating procedures (SOP).
Maszlee said that the student’s parents would be meeting the Johor Baru District Education Office (PPD) based on the latest report he had received.
Meanwhile, an official of the National Education Advisory Council has called for action against the teacher, citing the Education Ministry’s 2003 circular which, among others, prohibits public caning and especially of female students.
“These are very strict procedures, so action needs to be taken against the teacher as he breached the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” she told Free Malaysia Today.
According to the ministry circular, being rude to a teacher is considered a serious offence warranting a maximum of three strokes on the posterior with a light cane.
Other serious offences include the consumption, possession, and distribution of tobacco drugs, alcohol, theft, and fighting.
Meanwhile, lesser offences can result in a student being caned a maximum of three times on the palm with a light cane, or a warning and counselling.
Harry Tan, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession, said it would be best to wait for the investigation before commenting on the matter. He urged all parties to follow the given operating procedures.
“We also have a code of ethics for parents to follow if they come to schools because of their children’s disciplinary problems,” Tan said.