Mass hysteria breaks out at secondary school

KUALA LUMPUR - Students of SMK Pusat Bandar Puchong (1) here got a scare on Friday following a supposed bout of mass hysteria at the school.

Several students were allegedly in an uncontrollable state - screaming and shedding tears - shortly after the day's schooling session started, while others were said to have mysteriously fainted for no apparent reason.

Arriving early at the school to pick their children up, some parents further described a situation as near chaos, with Muslim prayers heard playing on a loop over loudspeakers.

Although the scene seemed calm when reporters were present and teachers remained mum over what had actually transpired, police personnel were seen at the school compound.

One parent, who wanted to be known as Ali, said he had earlier taken his daughter home after she fainted outside her classroom.

"She suddenly felt weak and broke out in a cold sweat, and after washing her face at the girls' toilet, she fainted," he said.

Parent Datin Rozita Haron said she was among the parents who helped to calm the students.

"Some students said that this had been happening since Mon­day, but today was the worst, with students of all races, both boys and girls.

"I kept asking a student why she was sobbing.

"She replied that she 'liked being here' and didn't want to 'go back'; I thought that was a strange thing to say," she said.

A Form Five student claimed that even her teacher had been "affected" the previous day and had fainted in class.