If parents do not show respect for rules, our young will not do so either.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat pointed this out in a speech on Wednesday, in which he also spoke on the case of the mother who filed a police report after her Primary Six son's $60 haircut was ruined by his teacher.
At the Ministry of Education (MOE) Work Plan Seminar, Heng said that the child was reminded repeatedly to trim his hair, and when that failed, the school sent a letter to the parent.
“The mother’s response was that her son was dyslexic and therefore forgetful. Dyslexic people are not forgetful,” Heng said in his speech. “As one writer put it in a media commentary, by raising such a hullabaloo, ‘the mother… did herself and her son no favours’.”
In response to Heng's comments, Serene Ong, the mother who filed the police report, was quoted by Today as saying that "there is absolute no right or wrong in this matter" and that there should have been a courtesy call from the teacher first before cutting her son's hair.
During his speech, Heng also recounted an incident where a father went to him for help and began his comments with expletives about the teachers in his son's school. Heng told the parent that if he wanted help from him, the parent must first help himself.
"If parents do not show graciousness to others and respect for rules, our young will not do so either. Soon, discipline will be eroded, the tone in our schools will deteriorate, and the tone in our society too," Heng pointed out.
"Once the ethos in a school is lost, it is hard to recover. It is already happening in many schools around the world. Who suffers? Our students, and future generations of students, who just want a good education. We must take a firm stand against unreasonable demands," he added.
Some parents applauded Heng while others asked the minister to look deeper into the incident.
Kenny Mok commented on Heng's Facebook page and said, "Thanks for displaying courage and making changes to the country's education system and also standing up for the school in the haircut incident. I would dare say most Singaporeans agree with you."
Another Facebook user Mohd Kasim Aj said, "I am glad that you have acknowledged that teachers need to be respected by parents. However, don't you think they should also be respected by their own principals for carrying out disciplinary duties on behalf of the school?"
Mohd added that the principal of the school agreed with the parent that the teacher had no business cutting the boy's hair.
"I wonder how the teacher concerned must have felt then? How can we attract good teachers when they can see for themselves how they might be treated for maintaining discipline in schools," the user said.
Male Singaporean singer gets breast augmentation surgery in Bangkok