Teacher transferred out of school following teen’s suicide attempt

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

PETALING JAYA, Jan 28 — The teacher linked to a 13-year-old girl’s suicide attempt in Nibong Tebal, Penang has been removed from the school and assigned desk duties pending an internal probe by the state’s Education Department.

Penang Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said the teacher was transferred to the South Seberang Perai district education office after earlier accusing M. Vasanthapiriya of stealing another teacher’s handphone on Wednesday.

“The department has to look into Standard Operating Procedure for such cases and we hope they will take necessary actions,” he told a press conference after visiting Vasanthapiriya and her family at Hospital Seberang Jaya Intensive Care Unit where the former is currently warded.

The video of the press conference was made available to Malay Mail.

Zainal said he was disappointed and sad that an incident over a missing mobile phone could lead to the teenager falling into a comatose state after sustaining severe brain injuries.

“All of us express our sympathies to the family. We really hope she can pull through and go back to school as usual,” he said.

Vasanthapiriya, a student of SMK Methodist in Nibong Tebal, was called in for questioning for allegedly stealing a handphone belonging to a teacher.

She denied stealing the handphone and was then allegedly confined to a room in the teachers’ office quarters for nearly five hours, without any food or toilet break.

The teenager was then brought to her house along with the teacher to meet her parents, and she hid in her room while her parents and the teacher sorted things out outside.

She then attempted to hang herself with a shawl off an air-conditioning piping before her father broke into her room after she did not answer his calls.

A suicide note written on a torn page of her school exercise book was also discovered written in Tamil stating she did not take the teacher’s phone along with goodbyes to her loved ones. 

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