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Tot's swollen ear alerts mum to 'abuse' by teacher

SCHOOL'S RESPONSE: Principal Lee of Chiltern House (above) says the teacher has been suspended, and the school will decide what to do after the police investigations are completed.
Tot's swollen ear alerts mum to 'abuse' by teacher

WHAT HAPPENED? Madam Yap noticed that Julia's ears were unusually red when she picked the girl up from the nursery on May 22.


    Jun 03, 2015

    Tot's swollen ear alerts mum to 'abuse' by teacher

    WHEN Madam Yap saw her daughter's swollen left ear, she was horrified.

    Her daughter is just over 2½ years old.

    Like the other parents we interviewed, Madam Yap, 41, asked that we not use her full name.

    She said she noticed that her daughter's ears were unusually red when she picked the girl up from her nursery, Chiltern House in Orchard Road, at around 5.30pm on May 22.

    Madam Yap, the managing director of a European multinational company, said her daughter Julia (not her real name) complained of pain in her ears and was crying on the way home.

    When Madam Yap asked her what had happened, the girl initially refused to say anything.

    "She kept making the action of zipping her mouth and said 'cannot say, cannot say'."

    After Madam Yap kept assuring Julia that she would not tell anybody, the little girl finally revealed that her nursery teacher had allegedly taken her and another toddler from the same class to the diaper changing room.

    When Madam Yap asked Julia to show what the nursery teacher purportedly did to her in the diaper changing room, Julia twisted her ears and roughed her face with both hands.

    Madam Yap believed this meant that Julia's ears were pulled and she was allegedly abused by the teacher in the room.

    She then called Madam Tan, the mother of the toddler who was in the diaper changing room during the alleged abuse.

    Madam Tan, 34, a property agent, immediately examined her daughter Anna (not her real name) and noticed that the child had two scratches on her right cheek and red ears, too.

    "I didn't notice this right away because the injuries were not that obvious," said Madam Tan.

    "And Anna, unlike Julia, is quieter. So she didn't tell me anything at first.

    "Anna is not the kind who would bring up to me what happened in school unless I ask her directly."

    When Madam Tan asked Anna if her red ears were because of the nursery teacher, Anna said yes.

    "Anna also told my maid who was bathing her that evening, 'Come with me to school on Monday to punish the nursery teacher. She was naughty.'

    "I couldn't understand why she would say that to my maid at first.

    "But when Julia's mother called me about the possibility of our daughters being abused, I realised why," Madam Tan said.

    The New Paper (TNP) understands that the nursery teacher who allegedly abused the toddlers is new.

    She was transferred to the Orchard branch of Chiltern House only about two weeks ago.

    Madam Yap told TNP that Julia seemed slightly traumatised and had nightmares after the incident.

    She believed the incident in the diaper changing room was not the first case of alleged physical abuse by the new teacher.

    She said that when Julia told her how her ears were pulled by the teacher, she mentioned an incident earlier in the week when the teacher allegedly smacked another classmate on the head.

    "Julia said she saw the teacher hitting the boy's head. He then cried."

    She informed the boy's mother, Madam Lee, who confirmed this after asking her son.

    Madam Yap reported the alleged abuse cases to the police at around 11.30pm the same day, before taking Julia to KK Women's and Children's Hospital for a check-up.

    A police spokesman told TNP on Thursday that investigations were ongoing.

    The principal of Chiltern House, Iris Lee, met the affected toddlers' parents on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the incident.

    Ms Lee said the teacher has been suspended and the school management will decide what to do after the police investigations are completed.

    "It is most unfortunate that such an incident happened, but the school will do its best to ensure that lessons are not disrupted for this class.

    "The interests of the children, parents and even the teacher herself is our top priority," said Ms Lee.

    During the meeting, parents raised concerns over the lack of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the nursery and questioned the school's recruitment process.

    Madam Yap said that installing CCTV cameras in the centre to monitor the situation and teacher-children interaction would help prevent similar incidents.

    She also wanted Chiltern to review its process and criteria for recruiting teachers.