|www.corpun.com : Archive : 2016 : SG Schools Oct 2016|
Corpun file 26493 at www.corpun.com
The New Paper, Singapore, 29 October 2016
Student expelled, several caned for taking upskirt images of teacher
Secondary school student expelled and others caned for keeping, sharing upskirt photos and videos of 6 teachers
By Andre Yeo and Foo Jie Ying
A student was expelled and several others caned after they were found to be in possession of upskirt images of six female teachers from their secondary school.
Seven boys were found to have taken the photos and videos with their smartphones, and 23 others received and/or shared the images.
The expelled boy had been involved in a similar incident at his previous school.
He was found to be in possession of the images but he was not the one who had recorded them, said the principal.
After receiving a tip-off about the incident, The New Paper yesterday contacted the all-boys school, which confirmed the incident.
The principal told TNP that the school received information about the upskirt images on Oct 5 and immediately started an investigation to round up the culprits.
He said: "We found there were students taking upskirt photos and videos, and sharing them. There were 30 students."
He also said the school decided to handle the matter internally after he gave the teachers the option of making a police report.
But when contacted last night, the police told TNP that they had received a report on the incident, and investigations were ongoing. It is not known who had made the report.
We are not naming the school to protect the victims.
The 30 boys, most of whom are in Secondary 2 and 3, and a handful of them in Sec 1, had upskirt images of six female teachers.
Some of the boys were caned to send a strong message - this is not how you treat women - to the school population.
As it was during the exam period, the school punished them only after their exams were over.
Two strokes each
On Oct 19, the seven main culprits, who are in Sec 1 to Sec 3, were caned in front of their respective levels. They were given two strokes each on the buttocks.
The principal said nine others who had received and shared the images were given similar caning but in his office.
The remaining culprits were given suspended caning punishment, detention duties and told to return to school during the holidays for counselling sessions.
Should they commit other offences, they will be caned.
Their parents have been informed about the incident and the punishment meted out.
On the caning of the students, the principal said he needed to send a strong message to them and the school population that this kind of behaviour would not be tolerated and would be dealt with swiftly.
He added: "The school takes a serious view of misconduct by students."
On the expelled student, the principal said the boy had been given a second chance by the school after he was involved in a similar incident at another school.
"We took him in and gave him a chance, but he did not use it. We want to help young people learn, that's why we were prepared to give him that chance," he said.
"It was heartbreaking he did not take that opportunity."
The principal added that the six teachers were like his daughters and he had held many meetings with them.
"To see someone do something like this to them, it's very painful. I don't want to see anyone hurt in this manner," he said.
The principal also said that the teachers were angry but he commended them for talking to the culprits to tell them that what they did was wrong.
He added that when the boys realised what they had done, "the impact of how much they have hurt their teachers was very painful".
"They cried, they knew they were wrong. Their teachers forgave them."
The principal said he told the teachers they were free to make police reports, and he also informed the culprits' parents what he had told the teachers.
"Some of them were sad their sons were so thoughtless and disrespectful towards their teachers," said the principal.
He added that the 30 culprits had been stripped of any awards they had won this year to show the severity of the situation. They are also not allowed to take their smartphones to school until further review.
The principal said the school had reminded all students about good moral values and how technology should not be abused.
He reminded all his students: "It's not acceptable behaviour for young men. As men, they are supposed to protect the ladies, not take advantage of them. To do something like this is so very wrong."
Expert: Emphasis should be on seeking help
The behaviour of the boy who was expelled twice because of upskirt images in his phone may be leaning towards fetishism, said a psychiatrist in private practice, Dr Lim Boon Leng.
The teenager will need to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to firm up such a diagnosis.
Dr Lim told The New Paper yesterday: "Many of these deviant sexual practices start young.
"When they are at the age of sexual awakening, sometimes, the way teenagers get sexual gratification becomes deviant."
But one thing is clear: Expulsion from school does nothing for the boy, he said.
"It is in no way beneficial for the child, but the school has its own rules. It is its prerogative to decide what is best for the teachers and students," he said.
"Losing schoolmates and support may worsen the child's stress levels, which may in turn worsen his behaviour.
"But the emphasis, regardless of expulsion, should be on seeking help."
Lawyer Steven Lam of Templars Law agreed, saying: "If it's not a first-time offence, maybe something needs to be done.
"For example, he may need more than just caning. He may need to understand earlier rather than later that his actions carry consequences.
"If a report had been made the first time (he offended), the boy would have been put under probation and he could have been sent for counselling."
Shooting upskirt photos or videos is included in the offences under insulting a woman's modesty. So is circulating such content. Uploading it online aggravates the offence.
Should schools make a police report on these offences?
Yes, theoretically, said Mr Lam.
"Strictly speaking, a report ought to be lodged. But bearing in mind the ages of the offenders, schools may exercise discretion," he said.
"If you look at the offence and age, the long and short of it is that if a report is made, the police will investigate and the child will be impacted - so schools may exercise that discretion."
Hilborne Law's Rajan Supramaniam said that delicate situations involving young people should be dealt with sensitively.
Schools can conduct internal investigations and rope in counsellors to deal with the situation.
The onus is on the complainant - in this case, the teachers - to make police reports, he said.
Dr Lim said that such offences among youngsters could be prevented if taboo subjects like fetishism were more openly discussed.
"Sexual education now focuses on teenage pregnancy and abstinence. The curriculum can include deviant sexual practices, which are actually unhealthy, so that teenagers can learn about them when they undergo sexual education and seek help from counsellors," he said.
Parents also have a very important role to play.
"What we notice is that during their children's teenage years, parents tend to leave them on their own, thinking they are old enough to fend for themselves," said Dr Lim.
"The communication may be very minimal and the children may be going through difficulties without their parents knowing.
"This can be prevented if parents can be more appropriately open in discussing sexual issues like gender, identity and sexual orientation."
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