Parents want headmistress removed for ordering a pupil to eat trash food

 |Aug 3, 2016
Press conference by Hindraf and parents of Port Dickson's St Leonard Tamil School,
Press conference by Hindraf and parents of Port Dickson’s St Leonard Tamil School,

A Port Dickson primary Tami school headmistress has alleged dismissed a humiliating incident in which a Standard Five pupil been forced to eat food item from a trash bin, as “a normal thing.”

Parents now want the headmistress to be removed from the school immediately.

Pord Dickson Children Orphanage Welfare Home director T Paul Jegatheesan claimed that SRJK (T) St Leonard headmistress told him so when he raised the matter to her last week.

Since then 51 of the school’s 52 pupils have boycotted the school.

The boycotting pupils, including 22 from the home, are now temporarily “schooling” at the welfare home.

They were now undergoing normal school sessions under several volunteer educators.

Their parents, and also some teachers, have demanded the lady principal to be transferred out for the children to return to the school.

A petition on their demand signed by at least 20 parents had been submitted to education director-general, and copies of it were also sent to the district education director and its Tamil school coordinator I Shankar, and Port Dickson welfare office.

In the petition, the parents stated they had unanimously decided to refrain from sending their children to the said St. Leonard Tamil School until the ministry takes immediate action to remove or transfer the school headmistress, whom they felt “was not fit to head or manage a school.”

In the July 14 incident, the schoolboy Lee Lavin, who is from Paul’s welfare home, has thrown his food in the garbage bin out of anger after he was allegedly hit by a teacher while he was eating in the school canteen.

The headmistress then ordered the school senior assistant to force the student to pick out and eat the food from the bin as a form of punishment.

“If eating from bin is a normal thing in that school, how could parents dare to send their children to school? Is this kind of principal we need for a school?” asked Paul, who had also lodged a police report on the incident.

 

“It’s shocking. Can you believe that a principal could say that it was a normal thing for a pupil to be forced to eat food collected from a garbage bin?” said Paul during a press conference organised by civil rights movement Hindraf Makkal Sakti in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

An upset St Leonards’ Parents Teachers Association (PTA) chairman BN Basantakumar described the incident and the headmistress response as an insult.

“Would anyone accept this if their children were treated and humiliated this way?” he asked.

Meanwhile Hindraf chairman P Waytha Moorthy, who was present, said that the movement had submitted a memorandum to Education Minister Mahadzir Khalid seeking ministerial intervention to resolve the stand-off between the Tamil school and neighbouring Chinese school over a land dispute.

The Tamil school has accused the Chinese school of having encroached into its plot of land.

Hindraf lawyer S Karthigesan has already issued a legal notice on behalf of a group of parents to the Chinese school to stop the encroachment.

The schools concerned sit on a two-acre estate land which belongs to Sime Darby.

Apparently, the company gave both schools an acre each in 2009.

 

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Athi Shankar has been a journalist for past 30 years. He believes that democratic rights come with responsibility.