*UPDATED at 1am on 12 March 2020 to reflect Mee Toh School’s response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries
SINGAPORE — Disciplinary action has taken against the Primary 5 pupils at Mee Toh School who were involved in bullying one of their Malay classmates.
“The students responsible for the unkind acts, except for one who was on sick leave, have been counselled and disciplined accordingly. They regret their actions and have apologised to the victim,” said the school’s principal Wang-Tan Sun Sun in response to queries from Yahoo News Singapore.
“We have spoken to the parents of the students involved in the incident and they understood the seriousness of their children’s actions,” she added, noting that a “long discussion” was also held with the victim’s parent to assure her that the school took the matter very seriously.
Wang-Tan said investigations were started after the school was informed of the incident. The probe was completed within three working days, during which disciplinary actions were also decided upon.
She also labelled the bullies’ actions as being “an unacceptable act that goes against the values that the school stands for”.
“While inappropriate misconduct do happen from time to time, it is not the culture of our school, and our students are generally respectful, kind and helpful,” said Wang-Tan.
The incident came to the public’s attention after Twitter user @47SLZ posted on 6 March pictures of notes containing insulting messages that had been thrown at her younger sister’s face by a classmate.
“My heart broke today, it was my sister’s birthday yesterday and one of her classmates threw this to her face as ‘birthday present’, she said in the post referring to the notes.
In other tweets, she claimed that such bullying “keeps happening” to her sibling, who is one of “only a handful” of Malay pupils in the school.
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
Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung also wrote about the case in a Facebook post on Tuesday, saying that he was “dismayed and troubled” by the news.
“This is bullying, is wrong and cannot be tolerated anywhere, especially in schools,” he wrote, adding that such behaviour goes against “some very fundamental values of what we stand for as a society”.
“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,” he added.
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