Sunday, July 22, 2007

MORE PICS – 200 Girl Boarders Forced Squat 1 hr in Fish Pond by School Warden; NO one admitted - Sanitary Towel in Toilet Bowl; Bravo For Discipline

UPDATE From the STAR, Jun 24 07
On the incident where 200 girl boarders of SMK Bawang Assan in Sibu, Sarawak were made to squat in a pond, Noh said he had yet to receive a report on the matter.

In Kota Baru, state PAS secretary Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan defended the action of the school's warden, Wee Yim Pien. He said Wee made the right decision as it was a deterrent punishment to ensure the students did not litter anymore. He said the public should not feel offended as the punishment was supposed to fit the crime or offence.

Earlier, Noh reminded principals that any disciplinary action against students must be in accordance with existing regulations.“Our rules do not allow students to be abused in any way. Teachers are not allowed to make their students sit in ponds. This is not the right way,” he said.

= == = = and Spare the rod and spoilt the Child View16:06 PM

This is the sort of view coming from an old salt that is causing the indiscipline we see all across the schools. Spare the rod and spoilt the child. Give them a cold shower in a pond is considered a “violent way” he thinks. It is a good experience for all of them. Getting soak in rain or in a pond is an experience for them to remember. They are not so easily demoralized by such discipline and should be able to learn a lesson or two.

= = == = = ==
Fish Pond Punishment: Teacher Should Be Sacked, Says Ex-DG

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 (Bernama) -- Former education director-general Tan Sri Murad Mohd Nor has urged for the immediate sacking of a teacher in Sarawak who forced about 200 female students into a fish pond as a punishment last week.

The English teacher, who is also a hostel warden, had no right to mete out such punishment because as a warden she was supposed to protect and assist the students besides being a substitute parent while they were at the hostel, he said.

"The parents entrusted her to protect their children. Instead, they were abused for an offence they may not have committed," he said and added that it did not mean that students were immune from punishments. If they were proven guilty, only the headmaster and disciplinary teacher could mete out punishments on them and the punishment should be within the rule and not excessive, he said. It was reported that in the Wednesday's incident, the teacher ordered the girl boarders to stay in a murky fish pond inside the school compound for an hour because one of them dumped a sanitary pad into a toilet bowl. Murad said teachers should be rational in disciplining students so as not to go against the rules set out by the government. "We are in an educational institution not a prison. Therefore, teachers are bound by regulations in carrying out punishments," he said. He also advised teachers to adopt the correct approach in dealing with indiscipline among students and practise what they had learnt when undergoing the teaching course.
"If we educate the students in a violent way, the students will be violent. And don't be too enthusiastic with discipline," he said.

He said teachers should use a good manners approach, be compromising, instil care and love values, and not to follow extreme emotions when educating students

=== = = = == = == = =

Sunday July 22, 2007

SHOCKING PUNISHMENT: Cold, dirty penalty over sanitary pad

By : Dennis Wong and Nancy Nias, NST

KUCHING: Two hundred schoolgirls of a boarding school were forced to squat, neck-deep, in a murky pond after a used sanitary pad was found in a toilet bowl.

The girls were in the pond for an hour during heavy rain while the warden, who meted out the punishment, stood under an umbrella to supervise the punishment. The punishment, which was described as "improper", is being investigated by the Education Ministry. The shocking event at SMK Bawang Assan was captured on camera by the school’s parent-teacher association chairman Jimmy Kiu at 5pm on Wednesday. Seeing Kiu taking photographs, the warden ordered the girls out of the pond. By then, several of them complained of itchiness and rashes. Several were also reportedly ill after the incident. Kiu claimed none of the school officials came to check the situation despite these complaints.

Most of the 500 students in Form One to Five are from the interior areas of Sungei Pasin, Batang Lassa, Nanga Singat, Sungei Lengang, Sungei Belangan and Tanjung Bekakap. The students from the co-ed school go home on weekends.

"This kind of punishment is inhumane. And it is all over a used sanitary pad in a toilet bowl," Kiu said. "The water in the pond is dirty as waste from the canteen flows straight into it." A school official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the warden decided to punish all the female students after no one owned up to leaving the used pad in the toilet bowl. "I think the warden was angry as it is expensive to fix a clogged toilet," Kiu said. Sarawak Teachers’ Union president William Ghani Bina expressed his uneasiness with the disciplinary measure applied by the warden. "The warden’s intentions may have been good, but she should have followed the guidelines on disciplining students," William said.

"Teachers are humans, too. This warden may have gone overboard in instilling discipline." William did not, however, put all the blame on the warden. He said the student concerned should also take responsibility. "This incident would not have occurred if school regulations were followed. There are proper bins to dispose of used sanitary pads." Sibu deputy police chief Superintendent Zamani Hamdan said they had yet to receive any report over the incident.

= = == = =

Ministry to probe squatting incident
KOTA KINABALU: The Education Ministry will carry out a thorough investigation into a claim that 200 girl boarders in Sarawak were forced into a fish pond as punishment because one of them left a sanitary towel in a toilet bowl. Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said an investigation was under way to establish what actually happened. It was reported that the girls from a secondary school in Sibu were forced to squat in the murky fish pond for an hour.

The Form One to Form Five students were allegedly forced into the pond inside the school compound from 4pm on Wednesday by a woman warden. The warden watched over them with an umbrella as it was raining.

“We do not want to point fingers at anyone now but we will take action against those who are wrong,” Hishammuddin told reporters after attending the convocation of 500 teachers at the Teachers Training Institute here yesterday. In Kuching, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Fatimah Abdullah said the case should be brought to the school’s disciplinary board and a report handed over to the state education department. Fatimah said any punishment meted out must be in accordance with the school’s rules and regulations.

“But I’m sure the punishment for those caught throwing a sanitary pad into the toilet bowl is not asking them to squat in a pond.” The school's parent-teacher association chairman Jimmy Kiu who runs the school canteen, witnessed the incident and contacted a local daily to expose the incident. Describing the punishment as “harsh”, Kiu said he would speak to the parents before deciding on the next course of action

= == =Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Warden gives her side of ‘soaking’ incident

SIBU: The warden of SMK Bawang Assan near here, who has allegedly forced female students into the fish pond to punish them for throwing a sanitary pad in a toilet bowl, defended herself yesterday by saying that she had repeatedly reminded the students against throwing the pads in the toilet bowls for the last three years. In an interview yesterday afternoon, Wee Yim Pien who is from Kuching, claimed some students had turned a deaf ear to the directive and the toilets often got blocked due to the indiscriminate dumping of the pads.

“The situation is so bad that the prefects have to use their bare hands to clean up the mess by pulling the pads out whenever there is a blockage,” she said. Relating the incident between sobs, she said dustbins had been placed outside the toilets for the students to dispose of sanitary towels.
“We also keep old newspapers for the students to wrap the used pads before dumping them in the dustbins,” she said, adding despite that the blockage problem still persisted.
She said she was posted to the school as a teacher three years ago after her graduation, and since then she had been a warden there. Wee claimed that when the situation did not improve, she recently told the students that she would punish them by sending them to the pond. “On Wednesday, when we were cleaning up the hostel, a prefect came to tell me and said a sanitary pad had been found in the toilet bowl again,” she said.

Wee,(ABOVE) a graduate with a Masters degree, said initially, she had intended to send the students to the pond for only five minutes. “But they were very chatty. I then prolonged the punishment to half an hour,” she said, adding that more than 170 girls received the punishment on that day. “It was drizzling when they went into the pond, but the rain stopped a short while later. There was no lighting that afternoon,” she said. She said there was a heavy downpour only after the students had got out of the pond. Wee, an English teacher, said the water in the pond was not polluted as claimed.“We often draw water from there for washing. The school has also conducted obstacle courses there,” she said. The teacher said it was the first time that she had resorted to meting out such a punishment.

“I’ve tried various means in the past like asking the students to weed the school compound, but these did not work.”

Wee said being a school warden was not an easy job.

“This is a work not many teachers want to do,” she said, adding her work included ensuring the students had a proper place to stay and sleep.“If the boarders are sick, I have to care for them,” she said. Asked whether the complaint against her had dampened her spirit, she said: “I’m just trying to do my job.”

She added that she might not want to be a warden in the future.

Wee also denied the students suffered rashes and itchiness.It is said the water in the pond is about one-and-a-half feet deep. Meanwhile, Sibu deputy police chief Supt Zamani Hamdan confirmed yesterday that no police report had been lodged regarding the case.

Therefore, he said, the police did not investigate.
He said when he read about the alleged incident in the newspapers yesterday, he immediately checked if a report had been lodged.

= = ==
Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Leave probe into pond incident to department: Wong
SIBU: SMK Bawang Assan had submitted a full report on an incident last Wednesday when about 200 of its boarding girls were ordered to squat inside a murky fish pond.

“Sibu Education Department will conduct an investigation on the matter,” Bawang Assan assemblyman Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh told reporters during his visit to the school
yesterday afternoon.

ABOVE: Dato Sri Wong and BELOW: His Political Secretary Johnny

ALLEGATION REFUTED: ABOVE: Wee (second right) explains the incident to Wong (second left), Johnny (left) and Hilton.
He said as the matter was now in the hands of the department, it should be left to do its job without any undue public pressure.

In that visit he was accompanied by his political secretary in Bawang Awang constituency, Johnny Wess Engkamat. After he visited the pond, Wong said, “The pond is not that dirty like what was claimed by Jimmy Kiu (Parent-Teacher Association chairman) as published in local newspapers.” Wong, who is Second Finance Minister, was told by the school senior assistant, Hilton Gundi (BELOW), that there was no water from the dining hall discharged into the pond like what was reported in the newspapers.

“It’s just rain water,” Hilton said. “There is no drain from the dining hall to the pond or other places.” Wong explained that sometimes the water was used to clean the dining hall and toilets especially when the water pressure was low. “I was also told that the pond is also being used for motivation activities by the school. That means the pond is safe and not dirty,” he said. After he listened to the school warden, Wee Yim Pien, 27, and Hilton on the incident, he felt that, “the punishment is not that too heavy for the students”.

“She had given numerous warnings on the matter to the girls but they never listened, prompting her to punish them. She was just doing her duty as a good teacher and warden,” he said. Meanwhile, Hilton said he never received any reports that the students got sick or contracted skin diseases due to the incident.
“There is no such thing. If there was, I definitely know about the matter,” he said.
He also stressed that no students left the school because of the warden, saying that she was a good and dedicated teacher, and the students respected her.
“She has been teaching at the school for more than three years already,” he said.

Hilton pointed out that it was not easy to be a school warden as the job needed a lot of commitment and time. There are only two women wardens at the school to care for 197 girl boarders. Out of 536 students at the school, 365 are boarders.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noh Omar would order DNA samples be taken from each and every of the 200 girls PLUS the lady teachers so they they can be compared to the blood on the discarded sanitary towel. Who knows, it may belong to one of the teaching staff

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am glad you wrote a comprehensive post on this issue. The NST's post was 'copy and paste' from the first Borneo Post article which reported without first checking the facts. The article was riddled with inaccuracies and written in emotional language.

In the end, when all is said and done, investigations carried out etc, the truth will prevail whatever it is.

9:55 PM  

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