Parents of a kindergarten teacher in Singapore have filed a lawsuit alleging the teacher was negligent and discriminated against them when he made disparaging remarks about the students’ math skills, a judge ruled Friday.
The Singaporean Teacher Education Development Association (STDA) filed a complaint in the Central District Court against the teacher, Tan Wan-shih, who taught kindergarten to about 150 students in K-6, K-7 and K-12 in Changi from December 2013 to March 2016.
The teachers union, the Association of Teachers of Singapore (ATTS), has argued that the comments made by Tan were not only in breach of a contract but also were offensive to children who had not yet received their GCSEs.
Tan has previously denied the accusations.
According to the STDA, the comments about math skills by Tan included that they were lazy and that they would only score a 10 if they studied harder.
“The teacher did not have any intention to offend the parents but he made the comments because of his personal prejudice against the parents and because of the discrimination against the teachers,” STDA spokesperson Tan Lih-li told AFP.
“This was in breach not only of a legal contract but of the dignity and rights of the children.
The case should be thrown out because it does not go to the level of discrimination or discrimination against children,” he said.
Tantamount to a ‘bully school’ The case, which was filed by Tan’s lawyers, has been referred to the Court of Appeal, which will decide whether to overturn the decision of the court and to send it back to Tan for a hearing.
The STDA says it is willing to pursue further legal action if the court does not order Tan to stop making disparaging comments.
The lawsuit alleges that Tan made derogatory remarks about pupils’ ability to read and write in kindergarten.
Tan said that while he would not intentionally hurt or offend children, the remarks were offensive and made in bad faith.
He said that he had no intention to make disparaging statements and did not intend to hurt or insult children.
He also told the court that he did not consider himself to be a bully.
“I just wanted to teach kids a little bit better,” Tan said.
“The kids are good students, they’re not doing well but I just wanted them to learn.”
The Singapore Ministry of Education said it has no knowledge of the comments being made by a teacher in KG1 and had no comment to make.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Children and Youth Affairs said they are aware of the case and will look into it.
‘Bullying school’The STCA’s legal team, led by lawyer Peter Sih, said Tan’s comments were inappropriate and disrespectful and that the case should not be thrown in the court because it is based on an unfair contract.
He said the case was filed because Tan had been asked by his union not to make derogatory remarks against parents and teachers.
“Tan had a bad attitude towards the parents.
His words were very negative.
He was trying to take advantage of them.
The teachers had a contract with him.
They were told to do everything according to the contract,” Tan’s lawyer, David Tae, told AFP news agency.”
He wanted to be the best teacher and he did what he wanted,” he added.
The case has been adjourned to April 27.