Abuse case: Sacked teacher was 'well-liked'

On the left, CCTV footage of the teacher allegedly grabbing the boy, 3, by his arm and dragging him to a corner.

SINGAPORE - Parents and peers have contributed money to pay for a lawyer to help the childcare teacher who allegedly abused a three-year-old boy.

That is, if one is needed.

And the Education Services Union will help facilitate this should she accept the help, its executive secretary Ang Hin Kee said.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Mr Ang said the union has been providing support to the teacher. "We will look for ways to work with her and how best to help in the situation," he said.

The three-year-old boy suffered a fracture after allegedly rough treatment by the 51-year-old, who was working part-time at a My First Skool branch in Toa Payoh.

The act was captured on closed-circuit television (CCTV) and she was sacked following her arrest. She is now out on bail.

Days after the news broke, parents with children at the childcare centre came forward to defend her and had only praise for her.

A 31-year-old mother, whose daughter was under this teacher several years ago, said: "When my oldest daughter joined the centre, she cried for two months straight. But she (the teacher) was very patient."

Woman abuses child at Toa Payoh childcare centre
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: Internet screengrabs)

'Very caring'

She said that when her daughter switched to a different class a year later, she started crying to be taught by her former teacher.

A 35-year-old father, who works in engineering, commented that the teacher was "well-liked" and that his daughter, who was under her last year, enjoyed being taught by her.

A mother in her 30s, who works in the property industry, said that the teacher, who had taught her son, was "very caring".

Last Sunday , a posting on the Internet by an unknown user claiming to be the parent of a child in the same class as the injured boy said the boy was no angel and had bullied her son by pushing, biting, pinching, beating and scratching him.

It went on the say that although this matter had been raised with the teacher and the parents of the injured boy, the parents were "not cooperative in helping (their) boy learn" and "correct" his behaviour.

It noted that the teacher had taught her son well and was responsible.

The post concluded that although the teacher was ultimately wrong, the "responsibility of guiding the child will always lie in the hands of the parents".

At the childcare centre, a 36-year-old mother who works in the medical industry told The New Paper that she had also heard about the injured child being naughty. 

She recounted that during "a parent-teacher meeting... (a) woman complained about the boy disturbing her daughter".

However, the parents of the injured boy deny the accusations.

When The New Paper spoke to the father, he said that the allegations were "definitely not true". "It's very hurtful and sad that these sort of people exist in the world", he added.

He said he wanted to leave the case to the police as they were investigating and he did not want to say any more about it. 

Build trust, says Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said in the wake of the alleged abuse incident at My First Skool that the priority now is to strengthen processes within the sector and build trust between parents, teachers and operators.

Speaking to the media on Thursday after his visit to observe the teacher training programmes and pre-schools under the KLC School of Education, Mr Chan said while the use of CCTV as a tool for security at childcare centres is useful, it should not be "the be all and end all".

"We don't want the CCTV to erode the sense of trust between parents and childcare teachers. We want to work with parents, teachers and operators to work out how best to use this technology.

"At the end of the day, when it comes to child-minding, relationship, communication and trust are of utmost importance," he said.

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