Seri Pristana teachers to be probed for bullying, says minister
The statement by the minister came about after headmaster Mohd Nasir Mohd Noor had reportedly apologised to parents yesterday in a Parent-Teacher Association meeting over his decision to order non-Muslim pupils to spend their recess in the shower room during the fasting month.
"There are mistakes made by teachers. Then, there are allegations that teachers beat their students," Idris said, adding, "We will make sure action is taken against those involved.
According to Idris, the ministry is doing what it could to "calm the situation" but is facing problems with certain parties who are bent on "fuelling the issue further".
"There are those who are taking advantage of the situation," added Idris.
He, however, stressed that the Seri Pristana issue had nothing to do with race.
The school came to light after a concerned parent, Guneswari Kelly, had uploaded a picture of non-Muslim students in the shower room, eating during recess, on Facebook. The picture went viral and caused an uproar among the public.
Following that, 18 police reports were lodged against the school and its headmaster while the school replied with four reports of its own, claiming that the headmaster and several teachers were threatened.
Guneswari and two other non-Muslim parents have since transferred their children out of the school following complaints of bullying and intimidation by teachers and other pupils after the issue blew up in July. At least 10 other non-Muslim parents were also reported as saying that they, too, would seek transfers to other schools.
It was also reported that the headmaster allowed policemen into the school to interview several pupils over the reports. This angered parents who claimed that their children were traumatised after being questioned by police.
Police had earlier denied that they spoke to the pupils but later admitted they did speak to the children after getting the headmaster's approval.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) also came out to defend the police and said that there was nothing wrong with police questioning pupils of SK Seri Pristana.
Although the school reopened its canteen for students to use after the issue boiled over, it was not back to normal for the pupils of Seri Pristana.
Allegations of harassment and intimidation surfaced, bringing no end to the issue of discrimination against students whose parents stood up against the authorities and the school administration. – September 10, 2013.