S'pore mother of Primary 6 boy makes police report after son caned by school's discipline headmistress

The parents were not informed about the boy's corporal punishment.

Julia Yeo | September 06, 2019, 03:32 PM

A Primary Six boy from a school in the northeastern part of Singapore was allegedly caned by the school's discipline headmistress after he got into a fight with another student.

In response to his corporal punishment, the boy's parents made a police report.

Rushed to school after receiving call

The mother, Claire Kang, said that the school had called her on Sept. 3, informing her that her son had deliberately kicked his classmate's schoolbag, and got into a fight with the other boy.

The mother has provided Mothership.sg with an account of what happened.

Some of her allegations against the school were reported in an interview the mother gave to Lianhe Zaobao.

What happened

The mother had apparently heard her son's crying over the phone, and immediately rushed down to the school after the call.

Noticed cane marks on son's body

However, when Kang and her husband were about to request to bring their son home from school, the boy's father apparently noticed that cane marks were present on his son's body.

When pressed to reveal what happened, the boy said he had received corporal punishment along with the student involved.

Kang then questioned the discipline headmistress, but she had allegedly denied doing so, stating that she had only "lightly tapped them a few times".

Kang said neither she nor her spouse had ever hit their son before.

Kang and her husband made the decision to report the case to the police on the spot.

Police confirms report

According to The Straits Times, the police said they received the report at 11am on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the day of the incident.

The police are currently in the midst of investigating the case as one of voluntarily causing hurt.

After the police arrived, they collected detailed statements from all the parties involved, and confiscated the cane used for the punishment as evidence, the mother revealed.

The cane was allegedly to be 1 metre in length, according to the mother's estimate.

Boy brought for medical check-up

Kang added that she brought her son to KK hospital for an examination afterwards.

According to her, they found three marks on the boy's right arm, and and two marks on the left arm, and one on his right thigh.

However, in ST's report, the version of events differed.

ST reported that Kang's husband noticed the red cane marks and convinced the boy to tell him what had happened after the boy went home.

Kang told ST: "The police requested my son to demonstrate how he was being caned... He is traumatised by the caning incident and is unwilling to go to school."

Case reported to MOE

The parents of both students have since been notified of the incident.

Kang claimed that the discipline headmistress had mentioned that the school did not have a practice of corporal punishment, nor a detention and demerit system.

Kang has reported the improper caning to the Ministry of Education.

Under the Education (Schools) Regulations, corporal punishment may only be executed by the principal or under their expressed authority.

In addition, corporal punishment to boy pupils may only be administered with a light cane on the palm of the hands or on the buttocks over the clothing.

The MOE said it was informed of the incident on Wednesday.

A spokesman declined to comment when approached by ST on the specific complaint, but said that the ministry provides guidelines to schools to formulate their discipline policies, and discipline in schools should be "an educative process".

"In deciding the best approach, schools will consider the circumstances of the case, including the age of the student, severity of the student's actions, and whether offences have been repeated," he added.

The Education Act currently spells out the rules regarding corporal punishment.

The school said on Friday that it was unable to comment, as the incident is under police investigation.

Cover photo via Claire Kang