Teen attempts suicide after accused of stealing teacher’s handphone

A picture of the girl’s note to her parents, written in romanised Tamil and English. — Picture courtesy of David Marshel
A picture of the girl’s note to her parents, written in romanised Tamil and English. — Picture courtesy of David Marshel

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — A 13-year-old girl from Nibong Tebal, Penang is in a critical condition from a suicide attempt after being accused of stealing her teacher’s handphone.

The student had locked herself in her room last Wednesday night after being taken home by her class teacher and attempted to hang herself with shawl, The Star Online reported today.

“I managed to open the door and performed CPR before taking her to the hospital,” her father, a cook in his 50s, was quoted saying.

The news portal reported that the girl left a note for her parents in which she denied the theft, adding that she did not want to cause them any more trouble.

“They said the theft was captured on CCTV but they could not confirm whether the girl in the footage was my daughter.

“She said she did not steal the phone when I asked her,” the father was quoted saying, adding that a missing handphone could be replaced but “can my daughter’s life be replaced? She is on life support now”.

The girl’s uncle was reported to have filed a police report against the class teacher with the help of Malaysian Tamilar Kural, a Penang-based non-profit group caring for Indian community.

Malaysian Tamilar Kural president David Marshel told Malay Mail that his outfit was contacted by the family Thursday and immediately advised them to file a police report, and that it was eventually filed by the girl’s uncle Manogaran Retom as the immediate family were too distraught at that time.

The report was filed at the Perai police station, which is under the jurisdiction of the South Seberang Perai district police, and received by L/Kpl Mohd Nazuraidi Mohamed.

Marshel said the girl was initially admitted at the Sungai Bakap Hospital on Wednesday and transferred to the Seberang Jaya Hospital later the same day when her condition worsened.

“For the police, we know that suicide attempt is a crime but something must have triggered the act. She was not suicidal prior to the incident.

“We want to know if something else had happened, possibly the girl was threatened or something to that effect,” Marshel told Malay Mail when contacted over the phone this evening.

He urged the police and the Penang Education Department to investigate the issue.

According to news reports, the girl wrote what befell her in school in her note to her parents, saying she had been kept back for four hours by her teacher and the teacher’s husband and interrogated over the alleged theft of the handphone, described as an iPhone although the model was not mentioned.

“We want to know if the teacher followed the SOP? Was the teacher in the place to keep a student for hours after school to initiate her own investigation? Shouldn’t the student’s parents be called up to school first? Why wait until after detention to alert the parents?” Marshel questioned.

South Seberang Perai district police chief Superuntendant Shafee Abd Samad confirmed he is aware of the incident, but declined comment when contacted by Malay Mail