She kicked my son, slapped my daughter

SINGAPORE - Coming home hungry, the four-year-old boy would cry to his mother that he was famished or that his stomach hurt.

She thought he was just being rebellious.

So she was shocked when his childcare centre classmate claimed last month that their teacher had hit her son.

The boy also said her 18-month-old daughter, who goes to the same centre in the west, was also hit by the same teacher.

On Monday, the boy's mother, a 31-year-old housewife, called The New Paper hotline and claimed that her two children had been physically abused by a female teacher at the centre.

We are not naming the children or their parents to protect their identities.

Said the mother: "We were told by his classmates after class one day that the teacher would kick my son in the stomach, pull his ear and not allow him to have his meals."

She also claimed: "I was told by the other children at the centre that my daughter was knocked on the head and slapped. "I don't understand how anyone could do this to a girl who is not even two years old.

"We didn't suspect anything at first, even though after we enrolled our son at the childcare centre in April, his behaviour changed drastically."

She claimed he would cry in his sleep and would become easily agitated.

"He has always been a good-natured boy. But ever since he enrolled at the centre, he has become rude and rebellious. We have also observed him cursing angrily when he was playing with his toys," she said. Instinct

The boy's father, a security officer, 39, claimed that when he tried to carry his son to bed after he fell asleep on the sofa on more than one occasion at home in May, the boy would instinctively struggle and kick.

The father said: "When we woke him up and asked him what was wrong, he said he thought it was his childcare teacher."

His wife alleged that their son had been locked in a classroom, not allowed to have his meals, poked in his armpits with a pen and made to sleep on a wet carpet during the centre's scheduled nap times.

"My husband and I had a huge fight but we eventually decided to report the matter to the authorities," she said on what happened after the family became aware of the alleged abuse.

The couple said they lodged a police report on July 22.

A police spokesman confirmed a report was made that day, and said investigations were ongoing. No arrests have been made.

TNP learnt that the teacher in question was transferred to another centre at the end of last month. This was confirmed by another teacher who works at the centre.

The parents said they brought up the matter to their Member of Parliament, Mr David Ong, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

The father said: "Our MP promised us that he would look into it and that he would help us solve this problem."

Mr Ong told TNP that investigations were still ongoing and the relevant authorities were still checking up on both the accounts of the parents and the teacher, and that they were still awaiting the outcome of the investigations.

The PAP Community Foundation, which runs the childcare centre, did not reply to TNP's queries by press time.

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