A group of parents banded together to lodge two police reports against a senior teacher from a primary school in Sungai Petani, Kedah, who had allegedly told non-Muslim pupils to drink their own urine if they were thirsty during Ramadan.
One of the parents, Kavitha Somaly, said she was informed of what the teacher had said by her 11-year-old son who is a student of Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Ibrahim.”Those who were alert and paid attention to the announcements made yesterday, like those in Standards 4, 5 and 6 were shocked at what the teacher said and my son came home and told me.
“But we didn’t actually believe our own children as they could be playful and might be joking about this,” she told The Malaysian Insider today.However, Kavitha, sensing something was amiss, called up the parents of other non-Muslim students and asked them if they had heard anything about it from their children.
“Shockingly, they said their children had told them the same thing and we decided to do something about it. One of the parents penned the letter that we later sent to the state education department,” she said.This morning, Kavitha along with the other parents went to the school but decided against lodging a report there and instead, decided to make one with the police.
The group eventually made two police reports, one was made by Kavitha and the other a group report, lodged collectively by all the parents against the teacher.The matter came to light after the letter written to the Kedah education director by the non-Muslim parents had gone viral.
Dated yesterday, the letter said that the teacher in charge of student affairs in the school had allegedly told non-Muslim students not to drink water in class but to do it in the school toilet.The teacher, who made the announcement during the school assembly yesterday, also said that if these students had no water, they could drink the water from the pipe or their own urine.
Kavitha said that the parents, in the letter, had said the teacher could have made the remark due to “stress” or that it could have been a “slip of the tongue”.”To us, the matter is simple. First of all, you told the kids to go to the toilet to drink water, which, in itself, is bad already,” she said.
“The toilet in the school is not KLCC toilet!”
Following the report by the parents, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan ordered the Kedah Education Department to investigate the allegations.”However, at a policy level, the allegations, if true, are definitely not the policy of the ministry. Also, if found true, those responsible will be dealt with seriously for breaching the ministry’s policy,” Kamalanathan said in a Facebook posting.
Kavitha said the teacher had apparently denied the allegations, saying that he had, in fact, told the students not to accidentally drink urine if they go drink water in the toilet.We told the education department that we don’t want such a teacher for our children. This is a high-performance school,” she said, adding that at least 40% of the students in the school were non-Muslims.
Drawing the example of the 2013 incident at SK Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh, Kavitha said that if the headmaster implicated in that incident had been punished, the recent case would not have happened.”We heard the teacher got transferred and promoted. We don’t want that to happen here. You’re not punishing them, in fact, you’re encouraging.
“If that teacher had been punished, I’m sure we would not have this issue today,” she added.The Seri Pristana school had come under the spotlight after the headmaster directed non-Muslim pupils of the school to eat in a shower room during Ramadan.
The incident came to light after a concerned parent uploaded a picture of non-Muslim students in the shower room, eating during recess, on Facebook. The picture went viral and caused an uproar among the public.Following that, 18 police reports were lodged against the school and its headmaster while the school replied with four reports of its own, saying that the headmaster and several teachers had been threatened.
Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reported Kuala Muda district police chief Khalil Ariffin as saying the teacher, in this latest incident, was joking.”The case has been dealt with. This is a misunderstanding. I have met the teacher and the teacher said this was a misunderstanding by the non-Muslim students,” he was quoted as saying.
The report said that a total of 12 police reports have been lodged on the matter, including by the school. Khalil said that police would now leave the case to the education department. – June 22, 2015