Student ostracised after mother’s exposé
The Year 3 girl is coming home in tears, refusing to return to SK Seri Pristana following her mother's exposure of the makeshift canteen in the school's changing room.PETALING JAYA: The nine-year-old daughter of whistleblower Guneswari Kelly who first highlighted the makeshift canteen-in-a-changing room at SK Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh is facing tremendous pressure in her school, forcing her parents to even consider transferring her to another school.
“This poor child is being victimised for what her mother exposed. She is being isolated by the teachers and even her classmates,” said a parent who is close to Guneswari.
The parent added that the ‘attacks’ on the Year 3 student started the very next day after the issue hit the national spotlight following wide media coverage.
“Her teacher blamed her in front of her classmates that it was her fault for the school to be in the limelight. The girl was very distraught and embarrassed by this finger-pointing.
“And then when the education authorities conducted an inquiry on the makeshift canteen, this girl was told that she was not required to take part in the fact-finding session.
“But it only got worse as even her friends started staying away from her. No one is speaking to this girl and she is very heartbroken by the whole incident,” said the parent.
The parent further said that Guneswari only found out about the problems her daughter faced when she saw her child taking pencils and highlighters from home to her school.
“When asked, she had told her mother that she wanted to give them to her classmates so that they become her friends again. But when the child came back from school on Thursday, she told her mother that she didn’t want to return to the school again,” said the parent.
FMT learnt that both Guneswari and her husband are now mulling the possibility of transferring their child away from the school.
“They feel their daughter needs a fresh start and that she can’t continue studying in the hostile condition. It is sad that teachers, who are supposed to educate our children, are behaving in such a manner,” added the parent.
Both Guneswari and her husband have decided not to speak to the media right now. However other parents close to them said they are waiting for the whole issue to cool off over this AidilFitri break before making any decisions.
HM refusing to meet parents
Another parent, meanwhile, lashed out at the school headmaster Mohamad Nasir Mohd Noor for refusing to meet them to discuss the way forward from this issue.
“We are still waiting for him to meet us and to move on. This issue can’t continue to linger. The school must stop blaming the non-Muslim students and turn this into a race issue,” said a father of a student in the school.
He added that there were also other incidents of teachers mocking non-Muslim students, intimidating them and ridiculing them for the makeshift canteen exposé.
“We (the parents of non-Muslim students) are waiting to see the HM as well as the Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG) to solve this issue but to date, we have given the silent treatment,” said the father.
He said that the PIBG was also making several misleading statements over the canteen issue, including saying now that the PIBG had discussed and agreed to have the makeshift canteen.
“This is not true as we have some parents who were in the said meeting and this matter was not discussed. This is one of the issues we want to raise at the meeting,” he said.
Apology from ministry
FMT could not reach the school HM or the PIBG chief for comment. All parents quoted in this story are unwilling to reveal their names for fear of their children being ostracised in the national school.
SK Seri Pristana had come under fire after Guneswari highlighted in her Facebook two weeks ago that it was using a changing room as a makeshift canteen, ostensibly due to some minor renovation work at the canteen.
Parents however said it was done to keep away the non-Muslim students from eating in the open.
Following a national uproar over the matter, the school and the Education Ministry apologised to the parents, with the school headmaster saying that he had set up the makeshift canteen as the school canteen was too small.
The ministry had then approved for the canteen to be renovated.