MALAYSIA - A primary school teacher in Malaysia is in trouble after he forced his pupils to wear bells around their necks and offered them grass to eat - all because they did not complete their homework.
Malaysia's Education Ministry said the 26-year-old teacher will be issued a stern warning for acting "in an extreme manner" to punish the pupils.
The teacher will also be transferred to another school.
"The teacher's actions have also given the ministry a bad name," said education director-general Khair Mohamad Yusof in a statement on Sunday, reported Malaysia's The Star.
On Thursday, two Primary Four boys from a Chinese school in Sungkai, Perak, were made to wear bells around their necks and "offered" grass to eat as punishment for not doing their homework.
After the lesson was over, the English language teacher allegedly mocked the boys: "Since when did I have two additional cows in my class?"
The incident allegedly happened at SJK (C) Khai Meng after both pupils were caned twice by the teacher for not handing in their homework.
During recess, the teacher plucked some grass and allegedly told the boys to eat it or get another 10 strokes of the rotan. The boys refused but were spared further caning.
The allegations were raised by a mother and a guardian of the two 10-year-old boys at a press conference on Saturday.
The two boys are Muhammad Naswinder Muhammad Hamid and Mohamad Izat Iqbal Mohd Harith, reported The Malay Mail.
Naswinder's uncle, Mr Muktasim Hashim, said the teacher had gone overboard in disciplining the children.
"He had caned the boys twice each before that, but chose to humiliate them by making them wear bells around their necks and calling them cows in front of the class," he said.
"If that was not bad enough, he took pictures of them on his mobile phone and threatened to post them on Facebook before asking the boys to eat grass or get another 10 strokes of the rotan."
Mohamad Izat's mother, Ms Yarnis Kasuma Dewi Zainal Ariffin, said she refused to transfer her son to another school, and demanded that the teacher be penalised for his actions.
"Why should (Izat) be penalised and denied the chance at an education in the Chinese medium due to someone else's mistake?" she asked, adding that the school was the only Chinese primary school in the area.
Dr Khair said such a punishment was too harsh as the pupils were only in primary school and the situation should have been dealt with in a more suitable manner.
"The ministry would like to clarify that the issue of students not completing their homework is not a disciplinary problem as it is part of the 'teaching and learning' process and should be dealt with through continuous guidance," he said.
Tanjung Malim MP Ong Ka Chuan said he has spoken to the school's headmistress, who said the teacher had apologised for the incident.
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