Ho Ching Says Kinderland Was Wrong To Impose No-Personal-Devices Policy After Abuse Video Release

Ho Ching Says Former Kinderland Teacher Was Right To Film Alleged Incident Of Abuse

About a week ago, Singaporeans were shocked to see social media videos of a teacher allegedly mistreating students at a Kinderland Preschool in Woodlands.

Since then, one of the actions taken by the school was to disallow their staff from using their personal devices when teaching.

Mdm Ho Ching, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has criticised Kinderland’s approach as “seriously wrong” at this time.

Source: Ho Ching on Facebook

She also said the former teacher who filmed the incidents was right to do so.

Ho Ching says Kinderland bosses should’ve taken abuse reports seriously

In a Facebook post on Saturday (2 Sep), Mdm Ho shared her views on the Kinderland saga for the first time.

Noting that young kids are “highly vulnerable”, she was critical of the kindergarten’s principal and bosses for not taking reports of abuse seriously.

Source: Google Maps

In fact, anyone running an early childhood centre, whether it’s a preschool, infant care, nursery or kindergarten, “should take as an absolute the safety and security of the young charges under their care”, she added.

She questions move to ban staff from using personal devices

What Kinderland did take seriously was their staff’s usage of personal devices.

Thus, they introduced a policy that banned their staff from doing so during teaching hours, according to a Facebook post on 30 Aug — about two days after the first video came to light. They said it was to safeguard children’s privacy.

This wasn’t well-received by netizens, who commented that it appeared like the school was trying to prevent future whistleblowing.

Source: Kinderland Singapore on Facebook

Mdm Ho similarly weighed in on this move, questioning whether it was to “cover up the embarrassment and prevent future incidents of video evidence of abuse?”

If so, that’s “absolutely the wrong approach”, she said.

Instead, the school should institute a proper whistleblowing system and process, she added.

Mr Seet Lee Kiang, general manager of Kinderland Singapore, has said that the ban was so the teachers could “focus on the children”, reported The Straits Times (ST). He added that staff could use phones to film an incident during an emergency.

She supports teacher who filmed alleged abuse

Mdm Ho also joined Singapore parents in supporting “Teacher B”, the former Kinderland teacher who recorded the alleged abuse.

Source: Claudia Tan on Facebook

She said Teacher B was “right” to film the other teacher’s actions.

This is especially true when it was reportedly a last resort because her principal allegedly refused to take the feedback seriously.

However, she did concede that Teacher B should’ve reported the matter to the higher-ups of the kindergarten if she felt the principal did not take her reports seriously.

If that still didn’t work, Mdm Ho said teacher B should’ve made a report to the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), police, Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

The videos should’ve been posted on social media only as a last resort, she maintained, with the identities of the children protected.

Ho Ching says Kinderland principal ‘should be taken to task’

Mdm Ho had stern words for the principal of the kindergarten too.

She said the principal “should be taken to task” if, as Teacher B had claimed, she disregarded her allegations of abuse against the other teacher.

The principal of the Woodlands Mart branch, Ms Mahirah Yasid, has since been relieved of her duties and redeployed to other roles in the company while the investigation is ongoing.

However, Mdm Ho was of the opinion that the management could also share some of the blame, saying,

The principal and the management of the kindergarten are as irresponsible as the teacher who is abusing the kids, if they had ignored reports of abuse.

The teacher who committed the alleged ill-treatment, a 33-year-old Singaporean named Lin Min, has not only been fired but charged in court and remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

Kinderland has said that they apologised to the children and their parents, though some parents subsequently claimed that they hadn’t received an apology.

More revelations might emerge when the case returns to court on 13 Sep, so watch this space.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Temasek and Google Maps.

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

  • More From Author