Primary school teacher investigated for abusive punishment of students

The Gongshang Primary School crest

Several parents, unhappy with how a mathematics and science teacher was disciplining students in Gongshang Primary School, have lodged complaints with the school & the Ministry of Education (MOE).

According to the parents, the female teacher from the school in Tampines -- who has been relieved of her teaching duties & cannot be named as investigations into the case are still ongoing -- had resorted to abusive punishment of her students in the classes she taught.

The punishments ranged from the students being called names, having to kneel beside the teacher’s table, and getting objects thrown at them.

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Primary school teacher taken off teaching duties after a string of complaints from parents

A Primary school teacher was taken off teaching duties this week after several parents complained that she had mistreated their children earlier this year.

The parents told The Straits Times that the Gongshang Primary School teacher -- who taught science and mathematics -- had humiliated pupils by calling them names such as "retarded monkeys" & making a few of them kneel in class, or sit on the floor.

The parents said she had also thrown objects -- such as a marker which had hit a boy's face -- & told another he was a "bad Christian" and "a disgrace to God".

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Primary school teacher suspended after parents complained of abusive punishments

The complaints may have been filed, but the pupils' troubles were not over.

According to Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, the teacher told the class that she knew the identities of the pupils who complained about her.

Frightened, the pupils begged their parents not to pursue the matter, Wanbao added.

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Teacher under probe for calling pupils 'retarded monkeys'
Making a stan: Even though another teacher has been assigned to take over lessons and their children are now safe, Madam Josephine Chua (left) and Madam Joey Hoe say they are speaking up to protect other children TNP FOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA

She has been accused of denigrating her pupils with such insults as "a disgrace to God" and "a bunch of retarded monkeys".

The teacher has also allegedly threw objects such as staplers, marker pens & water bottles at the children, and made them kneel in front of the class for talking.

The New Paper understands that parents have been complaining about the Gongshang Primary School teacher since March.

related: Teacher under probe by MOE

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MOE probes school teacher abuse claims

“MOE takes a serious view of misconduct by teachers. Teachers who fail to comply with our standards of conduct and discipline will be subjected to disciplinary action,” said a spokesman.

Madam Josephine Chua, 43, said her Primary 5 son was made to kneel in class 3 times this year.

“I found out about this only at the start of this month,” said the housewife whose daughter in Primary 3 was also taught by the same teacher.

related: Primary school teacher taken off teaching duties after a string of complaints from parents

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Gongshang Primary School teacher under MOE probe for allegedly abusive conduct

Days after one pre-school teacher was suspended for abusive behaviour (humiliating a young boy for having long hair), another schoolteacher is in trouble after complaints from anxious, protective parents

At Gongshang Primary School, a female teacher has been relieved of teaching duties pending investigations — apparently due to brutish punishments she regularly doled out to her students.

Daphne Ling — who runs parenting blog Mother, Inc — had heard from a friend about a teacher who has been "abusing the kids in her class both physically and emotionally for several months". Ling's concern stems from the fact that her kids go the same school, though they haven't experienced the abuse personally.

Like the case in Zoo-phonics, it seems like the teacher is simply very old-school in her disciplinary handling. According to Ling, the punishments include:

  • Making difficult students kneel down in front of the class, next to her desk
  • Taunting and insulting students, including calling them "retarded monkeys"
  • Throwing objects (such as markers, a water bottle and a stapler) at students
  • Telling a Christian student that "he was a disgrace to God"
  • Intimidating students over complaining to their parents about her
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Primary school teacher in S’pore made students kneel, called one of them a ‘disgrace to God’

For better or worse, a teacher can serve as the foundation in which a student view the concept of learning and school. This story is not one for the better.

Daphne Ling, a blogger who runs the site Mother Inc, recently published a blog post detailing transgressions carried out by a teacher on her friend’s children, who also goes to the same school as her own children.

The incidents allegedly took place in Gongshang Primary School.

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Gongshang Pri Sch Teacher relieved of duties after parents complained child abuse

A female primary school teacher from a top-ranking primary school in Tampines has been relieved of duties after parents of students whom she punished complained of child abuse. The unidentified teacher was reported to have been relieved of her duties after the complains reached the Ministry of Education.

According to the students, the punishments ranged from name-callings like “a bunch of retarded monkeys” when some Primary 5 students forgot to bring their science textbooks, to throwing whiteboard markers at students who are disruptive in class. A parent whose son suffered from high myopia was alleged to be told by the teacher “Too bad you can’t see. Go get new spectacles.”, while other students who went up to the whiteboard to get a clearer view were told “Don’t you have the money to get new ones?”

Another student was told to kneel on the floor beside the teacher after he was found to be disruptive. Another was told to swear with 3 fingers. When the teacher found out that she has been complained about, she allegedly threatened the students.

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Teacher made Students Kneel in Front of Class, Verbally Abused them and Threw Things at Them

The punishments ranged from calling students rude names, to making them kneel beside the teachers’ table, to even throwing objects at students.

That is how a math and science teacher from Gongshang Primary School is alleged to have abused kids under her care.

She has been relieved of her duties and is now being investigated, after angry parents lodged complaints with the school and the Ministry of Education.

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More child abuse cases being investigated

For the better part of a year, the storeroom was her home. It was where an 11-yr-old slept, ate, studied and used a bucket to relieve herself.

She was so afraid of being punished that she did as she was told, remaining there even though the storeroom was not locked.

She was allowed out only for a daily bath - and to go to school, where she never spoke of her ordeal.

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Pre-school teacher in hair clip saga to remain at centre

A back view of the 6-yr-old involved in the incident. His teacher found his hair too long and clipped it with a girl's hair clip. The incident came to light after another teacher noticed his "abnormal and despondent" behaviour, his father said in a Facebook post. FOTO: COURTESY OF MADAM SWEE

A pre-school teacher who put a girl's hair clip on a 6-yr-old boy in front of his classmates will continue to teach at Zoo-phonics School's Serangoon Central branch.

This follows an internal investigation into the matter that blew up after the boy's father posted about the incident publicly on Facebook, sparking a debate on ways to discipline children.

In a 5-page letter to parents yesterday, the school said: "The management believes that Teacher Theresa is deemed fit to continue teaching at Zoo-phonics School (Serangoon)."

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Teacher Cuts Pupil’s Hair, Mum Files Police Report

A mother has lodged a police report after her 12-year-old son’s teacher cut his hair an hour before his PSLE oral exam on 16 Aug 2012.   This news headline is a hot topic and many people have very different opinion.   What are your views?

  • Would you, as a mother, report to the police if your son’s teacher cut the son’s hair to the length above?
  • Would you, as the son’s teacher, cut the hair if the boy’s length was untidy or this long?
  • Would you as the principal, support the teacher or let the teacher apologise to the mother?
  • Does the teacher need to be forgiven, as advised by the Ministry?
  • Would you as the police, advise the mother to seek legal advice?
  • Was the threat  to the boy to deduct marks, if he refused the haircut,  properly carried out?
  • What is the impact to the boy?  What did you think he has learnt from this episode?  After the cut, the boy cried, possibly prompting the mum to take action.  The teacher had to apologise. The boy didn’t dare to step out of the house for 2 days. What values did you think the boy has learnt?
The mother, Madam Serene Ong, is outraged that the teacher did this just before a crucial exam, that it was done without her knowledge nor permission – and that it ruined the boy’s $60 haircut.

She claimed the teacher – Ms Belinda Cheng of Unity Primary School – also threatened to deduct marks from the boy’s exam if he refused to have his hair cut.

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Was a police report necessary?

Hello readers. Which ever part of the world you are from, you have got to listen to this ridiculous piece of news I’m going to be discussing about. So sit tight and read on!

So recently, a primary school teacher cut the hair of a 12-year-old boy without his parents consent and the boy’s mother actually filed a police report. The detailed reports can be found here:

My thoughts? Let’s just look at this from a few perspective. First of all, I don’t think the teacher should have cut the boy’s hair just before an important examination. I definitely would not be in a good mood if that happens to me. It could affect the boy’s state of mind and could possibly cause him to do badly for his oral examinations. Thus, in my opinion, it would be better if warnings were given first before actions are taken. However, according to other news sources and reports, the school did issue the boy a warning for his unacceptable hair length. The boy did not inform his parents about the given warnings. To a certain extent, however, I would in fact agree that the teacher acted too quickly without thinking of the possible consequences.

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Teachers have no business cutting students’ hair

The police didn’t notice that in some countries this is an obscene gesture

Earlier this year, the police were hauled in to investigate a case of verbal abuse when a teacher told a student that he ‘didn’t want to see her face’. In the case of a vainpot Ryan who spent the equivalent of my entire year’s haircut budget ($120) at Red’s, my concern is not so much whether his teacher went overboard or if his mum overreacted (parents always do these days), but how his reaction to the ordeal of a teacher manhandling his funky mop speaks for kids of his generation, kids whose parents resist till this day from calling them ‘BABY’, though ‘babies’ are exactly what they behave like.

What bugs me is that he’s TWELVE, CRIED and LOCKED himself at home for DAYS as if it weren’t a few snips of a scissors but a crude lopping and scalping with pruning shears. Ever heard of a CAP, boy? God, it’s like the apocalypse just befell us all. I mean, just look at his pose. Look at it. I don’t blame the teacher for having the urge to run his head through with a motorised grass-cutter.

Having teachers multitasking as hairdressers is not a ‘hundred year old’ practice as one principal claimed. Hair-snipping as a last-resort punishment has been meted out as late as the early eighties, when long hair was a bane of society, associated with delinquency, truancy and Satanic rock music.

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'Expelled' for messy hair

FOR 3 days, Anita Liew and her parents were distraught and puzzled because they thought she had been expelled from school - over a few stray strands of hair.

Her mother, Madam Wong Kan May, 44, was 1st told that Anita had been expelled over her "unruly hair" after she had failed to pin the strands from her ponytail neatly.

She was told to find another school for Anita, who is doing her N levels this year.

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Mum upset over school haircut for son

It was the first day of school on Tuesday, and she was shocked when her son SMSed to say he was getting his hair cut.

By the time she rushed to the school, there were uneven patches on his head, and his hair looked as if it had been unprofessionally cut.

The 43-yr-old woman, who gave her name only as Madam Yeo, was upset that her 14-yr-old son was subjected to a drastic hair cut by a staff member at Springfield Secondary.

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Simisai Also Make Police Report

According to the papers, A father made a police report for "verbal abuse" because his 7-year-old daughter told him that her teacher said to her: "I don't want to see your face."

Seriously? A POLICE report? Call the school. Call the principal. Heck, call the Minister of Education, if you like. But a police report is a tad overkill, don't you think?

Even if the teacher was harsh with her words (and we have all experienced worse, I am sure. Bags flying out of the window, anyone?), why do we #SimisaiAlsoPoliceReport?

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Teacher ‘don’t want to see your face’

I’ve written enough about teachers verbally ‘abusing’ pupils in a previous post (You’ve got the cheek to tell me this!) and how even ‘shut up’ has become as degrading as ‘son of a whore’. If you’ve ever experienced the police  delaying search for your missing pet goldfish, this is probably one of the reasons why.

This sets a ridiculous precedent of teachers succumbing to emotional blackmail by their students, via overprotective parents who might as well march into the classroom with a chopper. Now you can come up with any woolly excuse in the world for not doing your homework as long as you know who to call when your teacher starts ‘verbally abusing’ you. Forget counsellors, fart cushions or car-scratching,  if you want to exact revenge on a cranky teacher, the neighbourhood police will be there to assist. The crooks, thieves, paedophiles, gangsters, kidnappers can all wait. Someone’s ego is at stake and the fate of one’s education as we know it depends on someone soothing it with a hapless apology.

Thanks to the likes of Ariffin here who’s taking up more of the police’s time than necessary and turning law enforcers into nannies from a child protection agency, you’d have to wait in line behind angry parents at the police post even if you need to report your neighbour’s crazy rotweiller for gnawing your bloody toes off. If some madman is out there spreading anthrax dust, too bad, there’s a foul-mouthed teacher on the loose! Oh think of the children! Yes,  Dad-who-called-police-for-no-damned-reason, no one from New Town Primary School wants to see your face either.

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'Verbal abuse' by teacher: Dad files police report

An upset parent, learning that a teacher had used hurtful words on his daughter in class, has filed a police report for verbal abuse.

Mr Mohamed Ariffin, 53, said that his seven-year-old daughter, who goes to New Town Primary School in Tanglin Halt Road, told him that her teacher said to her: 'I don't want to see your face.' Mr Ariffin made the police report last week. The school and teacher have both apologised for the incident.

The teacher is believed to be a woman in her 20s, and in the school's Learning Support for Maths programme for slow learners.

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You’ve got the cheek to tell me this

Perhaps teachers should take the Professor Dumbledore approach to getting students’ attention: Yelling ‘SILENCE!’ and raising both hands with baritone authority. That would surely be more effective than ‘please be quiet’ or any form of meek librarian-speak  that is as effective as telling Gordon Ramsey to ‘calm down’ after someone burnt the turkey in his kitchen on Thanksgiving special night.

It’s no surprise that our teachers, like their students, have gone soft over the years. With children getting overprotected by parents from cradle to NS and taking the slightest scolding so personally that they post their hatred on Facebook or beg their parents to sue their teachers, most eventually pass out school without ever tasting humiliation or defeat because our educators are no longer ‘disciplinarians’, but ‘partners’ in raising moral citizens together with parents. Without the ‘school of hard knocks’ primer or a chance to grow some balls, these spoilt brats enter the ‘real world’ like the first cows in line stumbling into an abattoir, destined for the mince section without knowing what hit them.

Rude teachers are indeed the tip of the ‘rude’ iceberg. Our kids will face worse characters and situations out there; staff sergeants, bosses, customers, or even difficult relatives and spouses who make caning on stage a stroll in the park by comparison. School is the only time kids experience ‘growing up’ without being financially or emotionally crippled by it (with some exception for the latter of course). And anxious parents with an emergency prescription for Ritalin in hand, seem to have forgotten what ‘growing up’ means anymore, because the slightest trauma that makes their baby cry is a worrying sign that ‘teachers are not imparting values’. But what they’re really worried about is their victimised kids not making it through the term paper because they hate their teacher’s guts. It would be easy for a non-parent like myself to say kids should be taught how to ‘deal with it’, but that’s what separates a good parent from one who just pays the the teacher to do everything on his/her behalf.

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Refusing to go to school is a mental disorder

Last I checked, most people refer to a dictionary or thesaurus, and not the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders), to describe what used to be perfectly ‘normal’ children’s behavior like ‘shy’, ‘stubborn’, ‘lazy’, ‘naughty’ or ‘needy’. Now, if a child makes excuses not to get on the school bus, it’s called a ‘mild anxiety disorder’. If he withdraws from the group and sits by himself during recess doodling it’s called ‘social anxiety’.

Of course I’m not in the position to doubt the experts and their extensive research in paediatric neurotransmitter imbalance, but perhaps there’s a chance that a little parental discipline and some good loving, instead of checklist counselling and unnecessary, expensive pharmacological interventions would do the trick. I wouldn’t go so far as to accuse our mental health dignitaries of inventing diseases out of thin air, for there’s already a sustantial lobby of behaviourial experts to do that on my behalf.

There’s a much simpler explanation for the increase in mental disorders among the kids really, rather than pointing fingers at the educational system, tuition centres, or the breakdown of the nuclear family. And that’s because more people know about them and are bringing their kids to their doctors to ask if their kids are affected. To call this phenomenon ‘awareness’ borders on the perverse. Perhaps ‘paranoia’ would be more appropriate. It’s like how suddenly so many roses become red once someone discovered the colour red. The trait ‘red’ has been there all the while, just like how children have always been troublemakers since time immemorial

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Toddlers in ‘preparatory’ classes

Prep class is basically TUITION for toddlers, and ‘giving a head start’ is being KIASU. It’s OK, we’re Singaporeans, no need to pussyfoot around terms like ‘enrichment’, when all this is really an arms race among parents pitting their kids against each other to the death, sometimes literally.

Tuition for pre-schoolers is almost a half-century old practice, or rather RITUAL. In other societies kids have to endure genital mutilation without anaesthetic or engage in bloody combat with the neighbours to earn their place. Here, parents chuck them into pre-school and pre-pre schools, supplementing with weekend/holiday tuition or cram school under the benevolent guise of ‘enrichment’. It also helps if you have a French name (Petite Papillon), sound like a fashion brand (Julia Gabriel) an Italian restaurant (Montesorri), or a haunted house (House on a Hill).

These are no longer ‘nurseries’; one centre even calls itself ‘Little Uni’ , making no pretense at all that they’re really gearing up children for the long and winding educational superhighway. The greatest trick these businesses have pulled  is convincing parents that children actually enjoy attending these things, rather than, you know, SLEEPING or playing with/eating sand at the beach.

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My First Skool teacher abusing 3 year old boy

The term ‘childcare’ centre is a misnomer, because you might as well drop your child off at a dungeon. Singaporean parents have little choice really given their busy schedules, and are well aware of the risks of placing their precious tots in the hands of strangers. It’s rather premature to charge the teacher for almost breaking the toddler’s leg based on the CCTV though it does appear that she was manhandling the kid, with some hints of slapping going on. The teacher did carry the injured boy in her arms by the end of the second clip, though it’s not clear if she intended to send him for medical attention or dump him in a boiling cauldron.

If it’s not Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) putting your kid in the hospital it’s abusive teachers. In 2008, childcare teacher Hasanah Ahmad was charged and fined $4000 for causing unnecessary suffering to a 4 year old after dousing chili padi on his face. This followed a bout of mischief in which the boy hurled a wooden stick at another playmate. I don’t know what the childcare centre was doing leaving deadly weapons around the place, including the chili padi, or maybe it’s something women carry around in their purses to ward off rapists.

Of course you can’t let a little budding gangster go scot-free for rioting with a dangerous weapon at the expense of other kids, but I’m sure they’re better ways of discouraging violent behaviour than using chemical warfare. And wasting perfectly good chili padi, too. Thanks to Hasanah’s chili attack, the boy has since developed a phobia of chili, and to me, that’s more depressing than a good ol’ fashioned butt-spanking.

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MSF, police investigate alleged abuse case at childcare centre

The Ministry of Social and Family Development is investigating an alleged abuse case at the NTUC My First Skool childcare centre in Toa Payoh

A MSF spokesperson said child safety remains a paramount concern for them.

The police confirmed that a report had been lodged & investigations are ongoing in what seems to be a shocking case of child abuse.

A woman had been caught on closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) slamming a child repeatedly onto the ground. The incident is believed to have happened at a Toa Payoh Childcare Centre.

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Boy had nightmares after chilli padi incident

Months after a 4-yr-old had chilli padi smeared over his mouth by his childcare centre teacher, he still woke up in the middle of the night screaming: 'I don't want chilli.'

According to the mother of the boy, who cannot be identified because of his age, her son had nightmares for months after the incident in May last year.

The ill-treatment also caused him to have 8 ulcers in his mouth and he could eat only cold food for a few weeks after that, she said.

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Childcare teacher used chilli padi on boy, 4

It is an age-old disciplinary method used by parents here to scare mischievous children into behaving - the small, but extremely spicy chilli padi being rubbed on their lips.

A teacher at a childcare centre in Ang Mo Kio did just that to a child left under her charge in May last year.

But things went terribly wrong when the boy, aged 4 then, ended up with rashes on his face and neck. His mouth and lips were also left mildly red after coming in contact with his teacher's chilli-stained hands.

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Outrage as pre-school teacher names and shames smelly students in notes to their homes demanding better hygiene
Offensive? Some parents and the school board in Buffalo, New York, were upset by this note sent home by a teacher with her students

A New York teacher sparked anger after sending a note home with her pre-kindergarten students saying some of them were showing up to school so dirty she didn't want to touch them.

Parents say the handwritten letter was sent home with every child by pre-K teacher Sharon D. Perry Dunnigan at the BUILD Academy in Buffalo.

The November 14 letter read: 'Several children aged 3-4 are coming to school (sometimes daily) with soiled, stained, or dirty clothes.

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Teacher 'sprayed Asian pupils who smelt of curry'

Elizabeth Davies, 48, was accused of "humiliating" children aged between three and six by using the aerosol spray on them on nursery class.

Miss Davies faces being struck for using the air freshener on pupils at her inner-city school with a large Asian catchment.

The hearing was told she accused Bangladeshi children of smelling of onions or curry – and would say "there is a waft coming in from paradise" before blasting the air freshener.

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Ohio teacher fired for 'public humiliation' after scolding student bullying other children

Glen Oak Elementary School teacher told the Olentangy school board she'd fight to keep her job after a split board voted Thursday, May 14, to terminate her contract over bullying accusations.

Board members Roger Bartz, Dave King and Kevin O'Brien voted to suspend fifth-grade teacher Nicole LeMire without pay pending the final termination of her contract. Board member Julie Wagner Feasel voted against the measure, and board member Adam White was absent.

The board's action led to tears from parents and students who supported LeMire, along with shouts demanding answers about the decision.

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13+ Things Your Kid’s Principal Won’t Tell You
  1. If you want to talk to me about a problem, schedule a morning appointment, when I'm fresh.
  2. You're right, that teacher does stink
  3. Of course I'm going to disapprove of a child missing class for vacation.
  4. We had a young man struggling to focus during year-end tests
  5. You think that what happens at home stays at home
  6. The child you see at home?
  7. Don't tell me your child would never lie to you
  8. When we have a child who throws things or tries to hit when she's angry...
  9. My biggest pet peeve?
  10. Don't ask me to make a teacher forgive a homework assignment or not to teach a specific subject.
  11. I've had a few students who were bullies.
  12. Kids are easy.
  13. What do I love about this job?

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Ruined by the lies of children: The teachers destroyed by the false allegations of pupils who know they're untouchable
Untouchable: False allegations made by children are destroying lives as teachers are seen as guilty before proven innocent

Asked to drop into his local police station for a 'quick chat', Matthew Wren was only too happy to oblige. A few days earlier, the 38-year-old history teacher was attacked at his school by a pupil who punched him in the chest.

Mr Wren, a man with an unblemished 15-year teaching career, reported the assault and simply assumed that the officers had a few questions to ask him. What happened next came completely out of the blue.

'It turned out I'd basically been tricked into coming to the station,' Mr Wren explains. 'Instead of a chat, I was arrested, finger-printed, swabbed for DNA samples and then locked in a cell for four hours. The police were brutal and insensitive - I couldn't believe what was happening to me.'

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Embarrassing Punishments Hurt Kids, Experts Say
Credit: Shamed child via Shutterstock

Parents and teachers who try to make their kids behave by subjecting them to humiliating punishments are taking the wrong approach to discipline, experts say.

Just this month, a Florida teacher was suspended for making tardy students wear a wide-brimmed dog collar dubbed the "cone of shame." And parents in Minnesota who were disappointed with their daughter's grades were arrested after they shaved the 12-year old girl's head and forced her to wear a diaper and run around outside.

While these cases are certainly extreme, experts say that any punishment that shames or embarrasses a child is not an effective way to discipline youngsters, and may cause long-term psychological damage.

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Pre-school teacher who humiliated 5-year-old boy suspended

A pre-school teacher who humiliated a 5-year-old boy for spotting long hair has been temporarily suspended by the school. The boy’s father had written a lengthy email post on Saturday (9 Jul) recounting how the teacher made his son stand in front of the class for sporting long hair, and put a “girl hair clip” on him, “much to the amusement of all the other kids”. The teacher further threatened to repeat the action the next school day if the boy did not cut his hair by then.

In his Facebook post which has since gone viral with over 2000 shares, the boy’s father Eric Cheong said that his son told him that he felt like dying. The father, painted the teacher who he identified as Ms Theresa, as ‘monster’ who the pre-schoolers were terribly afraid of. Eric said:
“What has happened to my son today is just one of the many, I would have to say improper conducts, for an early childhood teacher to be exhibiting. A few other parents also feedback Ms Theresa would use marker or pen that she is holding to poke on our children’s foreheads when they answered wrongly to her questions. She will use a water spray and spray into the kid’s mouth if they ever seen yawning in her class. She had in a few situations, tied up the kid’s legs together if they swing their legs in class. Just last week, my boy’s classmate vomited in class and she had the decency to make the kid clean up the vomit by herself, even though she was unwell.”
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Primary school teacher investigated for abusive punishment of students
Pre-school teacher who humiliated 5-year-old boy suspended