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Family to take legal action over schoolgirl's punishment

The father of the 13-year-old student who was alleged to have been punished by a teacher at a secondary school in Tasek Gelugor recently said he will take legal action over the matter.

R Mogan, 38, said he will file a lawsuit against the school, teacher, and relevant departments of the Education Ministry over the ordeal allegedly endured by his daughter after the district Education Department said there was no evidence to support her claims.

The Form One student was allegedly punished by a teacher, who forced her to kneel down on hot tarmac with her hands raised for wearing shoes with velcro straps instead of lace.

She was allegedly made to remove her kayiru (holy string) and wipe off the pottu (traditional black dot) and vibuthi (holy ash) from her forehead.

Mogan said the Seberang Perai Utara District Education Department told him today that it had investigated the allegation and found no truth in the complaint.

“I will take legal action against the school, the teacher concerned, the district and the state Education Department for the punishment and embarrassment to my daughter.

“I believe that the school administration and the Education Department have done everything to destroy the evidence of the incident and cover up the whole issue,” the engineer said.

Mogan said his daughter was threatened by the officers at the district Education Department in Kepala Batas to deny such an incident.

A teacher also allegedly pressured students not to reveal evidence, he said.

“One day after the incident, the teacher concerned also threatened the students of the daughter’s class not to reveal anything about the incident or else the teachers and students will be taken in police jeeps to the police station for investigations.

“I believe the teacher, headmistress, and the District Education Department are trying to cover up the incident, but I will take them to court.

“I want justice to prevail in this issue as I feel my daughter was unjustly punished by the teacher,” he said.

Mohan added that if the case goes to court, he is willing to accept all legal assistance and advice as he just wants justice for his daughter.

He also said he’s received offers from lawyers Siti Kasim, Ramkarpal Singh, and Arun Doraisamy, and DAP chairperson Lim Guan Eng also promised that lawyers from the party will represent his daughter.

‘One-sided investigation’

Earlier, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy condemned the district education department for what he said was a hastily conducted and one-sided investigation.

He said the department had called up witnesses who denied the student’s allegation.

“I am glad to hear that the police will not be guided by the premature findings of the district education department,” he said.

“Schools are meant to educate and take care of the security of students. Teachers are guides to students but certainly should not act as bullies and tyrants.”

He added that he will write to caretaker education minister Radzi Mohd Jidin to suspend the teacher pending the police investigation.

Police are investigating the case under Section 298 of the Penal Code, which deals with the offence of causing disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.