KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — The teacher who accused Vasanthapiriya Muniandy of stealing her handphone abused her position by threatening the Form Two student and locking her in a room for hours, parent groups have said.
The groups also believe that the teenager’s death could have been prevented had the teacher followed the standard protocol for disciplinary cases in schools.
“in these circumstances, the teacher had taken the law into her own hands and this is dangerous not only for the students but teachers as well,” Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim told Malay Mail.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin agreed with Noor Azimah, adding that the teacher had acted against the school’s SOP by detaining Vasanthapiriya for hours before taking her home to see her parents.
“It was not right. It was obvious that the teacher and her husband had abused their power by intentionally detaining her for so many hours,” he told Malay Mail.
Mak said the teacher could have informed the disciplinary teacher, and let the latter investigate the matter.
He labelled the teacher’s actions as “bullying a defenceless student”, and called for the teacher to be suspended.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP)’s president Kamarozaman Abdul Razak said that the school should have immediately informed Vasanthapiriya’s parents of the case.
“If the parents are unavailable, then the Parent-Teacher Association of the school steps in,” he said.
“If that does not work, then the district education department gets involved followed by the police when required, this is usually reserved for heavy offences involving drugs and gangsterism,” he added.
Vasanthapiriya passed away at about 3.30am yesterday, a week after she was found barely breathing in her room after an attempted suicide.
She was in a coma for the past week in the Seberang Jaya Hospital and did not regain consciousness before passing away.
A teacher in her school, SMK Methodist Nibong Tebal, had allegedly accused the Form Two student of stealing her handphone on January 24.
The 13-year-old student had denied stealing the teacher’s handphone and on the same evening, when her father was out, she hung herself in her room.
She left a suicide note denying the handphone theft allegations and told her parents that no one should be held responsible for her suicide as it was her decision to do so.