'Bullying cannot be tolerated': Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Primary 5 girl bullied at Mee Toh School
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said he was "dismayed and troubled" when he learnt about a Primary 5 girl who had been bullied by some of her classmates at Mee Toh School.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday night, Mr Ong said: "A group of students had picked on a Malay classmate, and wrote her nasty notes.
"This is bullying, (it) is wrong and cannot be tolerated anywhere, especially in schools," he said, adding the incident goes against "very fundamental values of what we stand for as a society".
The incident went viral after Twitter user @ 4YSLZ posted pictures of the insults that were scribbled on paper and thrown at the girl.
On the crushed pieces of paper, the bullies called the girl "stupid and dump (sic)" and told her "you look so ugly and you really turn me down you make puke".
Explaining that she is the victim's sister, the Twitter user said in her post last Thursday: "My heart broke today, it was my sister's birthday yesterday and one of her classmates threw this to her face as a 'birthday present'."
According to the Twitter user, this was not the first time her sister was bullied, claiming that her sister - one of the "handful" of Malay students in the school - once returned home with her uniform vandalised, and had been the subject of name-calling and cyber-bullying.
She also accused the school and the Ministry of Education (MOE) of inaction.
In a subsequent Twitter post on Sunday, she said her mother had met a teacher from the school and requested for the victim to be transferred to another class.
However, the Twitter user claimed her mother was told a change of class would not be possible, and that she might want to consider transferring the girl to another school instead.
Mee Toh School's principal Mrs Wang-Tan Sun Sun told The New Paper the school has spoken with the girl's mother and reaffirmed that the school does not condone racist remarks or bullying of any form.
Mrs Wang added: "Every incident is taken seriously, and the school will follow through with the appropriate disciplinary actions for the students involved."
An MOE spokesman said the ministry and the school have investigated the incident and school leaders have provided support for the girl.
Said Mr Ong: "It does not matter whether the students might have done it out of mischief or that they are only Primary 5 students; the fact is that the victim felt that it was a racist act, and that makes it even more unacceptable."
He added the school will ensure the pupils understand the seriousness of their actions, and will follow up with appropriate disciplinary actions.