Yamaha Contempo Music School apologises for cancelling flute lesson because of boy's autism

[Updated, Aug 16]: The music school has since apologised after a parent took to Facebook to complain that a flute instructor had cancelled his son's lesson because of his son's condition, reported The Straits Times. 

Yamaha Music School is investigating a father's claim that one of the school's instructors refused to teach his 12-year-old son because he was autistic.

Ivan Lim took to Facebook yesterday (Aug 14) to talk about what had happened to his son, Alex.

Alex's grandmother had only recently enrolled him at Plaza Singapura's Yamaha Contempo Music School and had explicitly informed the staff that Alex was autistic and required a teacher who had the experience and ability to manage that.

According to Ivan, the teacher who was assigned to Alex had no problems with this the week before.

Alex had enjoyed his first lesson and was excited for his next one but was left heartbroken when the instructor cancelled the class just 75 minutes before it was due to start.

Ivan arrived at the school a few minutes before Alex's lesson was supposed to start on Friday (Aug 11) at 8.15pm when he saw him sitting in front of the school's reception looking "shattered".

Alex's grandparents were speaking to the staff and when Ivan joined them, he found out that the teacher did not want to teach Alex because of his autism.

Ivan wrote that when they wanted to speak to the instructor personally, one of the staff members said:

"He is not used to talking to so many people at the time."

After insisting, the flute instructor, who is described as "a balding man probably in his 60s", came out of his studio to speak with the family.

According to the post, he gave the following reason for not wanting to teach Alex:

"I discussed with my wife, and she said cannot teach. So I cannot teach him."

When Ivan asked him when he had this discussion with his wife, he replied it was the day after his first lesson with Alex.

Ivan then asked him why he waited until 75 minutes before the second lesson to inform the family to which the instructor replied, "I have my reasons".

The argument between Ivan, Alex's grandparents and the instructor escalated to a point where one of the instructor's students stepped in to take his teacher's side.

"He told grandma, 'Are you trying to make a hassle?' I don't know what that means, but he stuck his finger in front of her face aggressively, and also announced that he was going to call the police, which I suspect he eventually did," wrote Ivan.

"I told the man, who was shielded by several Yamaha staff members, to face me, but he didn't, so I called him a coward and a dog. Which may have been a little too strident on my part. And unfair – to dogs. He continued to taunt me from behind his human shield."

Ivan and his family eventually left, seeing that there was little more that they could do.

Ivan ended his post saying how disappointed he was with the school and the teacher for letting this happen.

Although the family was upset and frustrated for Ivan, it was heartbreaking to see the look of disappointment on Alex's face.

A staff member from Yamaha Music School informed Stomp on the phone today (Aug 15) at 12.25pm that the school is investigating the incident.