11-year-old caned severely on thigh instead of buttocks – did school break rules?

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A photo of an 11-year-old boy sporting a striking red cane mark on his thigh has been circulating online. The boy, a Primary 5 pupil at Horizon Primary School, suffered the lash due to a school caning where he was reportedly caned once on the thigh by his Vice-Principal on 15 Aug for misbehaving.

The boy’s aunt wrote in to STOMP, adding that the boy’s parents feel the caning was severe:

“He is a hyperactive kid (but not ADHD) and also apparently brought poker cards to school. The vice-principal did the caning in his office.”

Sharing a photo of the angry welt on the boy’s thigh, accompanied with blue-black bruising around the mark, the boy’s aunt said that her sister and brother-in-law – the boy’s parents – were informed about the caning and signed an acknowledgment form but did not anticipate how severe the marks would be:

“We all thought the caning would be on the buttocks, but it was on my nephew’s thigh. We didn’t expect the scar that he is now left with.
“After the caning, he was unable to sit for a week and had a phobia of returning to school. He even thought of changing schools.”

She added that her nephew is back at school, despite feeling traumatised.

A spokesman for Horizon Primary School defended the caning in a statement:

“One of our students was counselled and caned in accordance with the school rules so that he would understand the consequences of his actions.
“We have been working with his family to help the student learn. He has resumed learning actively in school.”

Regardless of whether the caning was meted out in accordance to the school’s rules, it actually goes against the Education (Schools) Regulations Act, which outlines that caning or corporal punishment – which only applies to boy pupils – can only be meted out in a very specific, limited way:

88.— (2) The corporal punishment of boy pupils shall be administered with a light cane on the palms of the hands or on the buttocks over the clothing. No other form of corporal punishment shall be administered to boy pupils.

Experts have also noted that “corporal punishment can have a lasting psychological impact on the child.”

The 11-year-old’s parents have indicated that they would like to pursue the matter further while the school declined to comment on the family’s concerns.

It is unclear whether the Ministry of Education will take action against Horizon Primary School for violating the restrictions for caning as per the Education (Schools) Regulation Act.

98 COMMENTS

    • But expel would not have helped the boy. It’s just passing the bucket to someone else… I don’t think corporal punishment is wrong n the parents sign the consent meaning they acknowledge the boy need discipline too. However the issue here is why thigh instead of butt. Still not as bad as my ex school mate though back in the donkey years which had public caning in the hall.

    • Canning is unlikely to work for this hyper active mischievous boy. A special school may help this problematic kid. Since the parent object to caning and may give trouble to the committee of the school, much better expel this boy and save the school.

  1. If the photograph be true, that discipline master that administer the punishment has a lot to answer for his action !!!! nahbeh , perhaps the DM need to get 3 stroke of the rotan to be administered by the school board independent representative!!!

  2. Poor boy be brave and study hard show whoever do this that You can make it that you can excel in whatever and studies and the caning will not put you down and it is not the end of the world be a good boy from now on ok

    • I sentiments too. In every school there is a counsellor. I’m sure if the boy is naughty, counsellors will be the first line of correction. And there is also the Disciplinary master. I am very sure that the boy really crossed the line and the last option is caning, which has to be done with the parent’s permission. And bringing a poker card is just one of the excuses the “aunt” tried to highlight. But we know better.

  3. Please make sure that the brutal vice principal of horrible horizon primary school is brought to task. If need be, he and other accomplices who support the aggravated caning violating the moe guidelines be terminated and arrested to be imprisonef. This is no way of educating an 11 yrs old student. His barbaric actions should be inflicted to his own children first and see if he is able to bear the pains suffered by his own choldren.

    He is no doubt rendered negative implications to the boy’s future.

    This barbarian should look in the mirror and ask himself if he is fit to teach in his whole life.

    Meanwhile, moe n horrible horizon pr sch should look into the boy’ medical needs and welfare and support him back to continue studies in the horizon pr sch that has shown its true horrible colours.

    True enough the boy has done something against school regulations. But surely and certainly this is not the warranted type of punishment to be meted with.

    • Caning is always the last resort after all else fails. The child must have committed an offence so severe and I mean so severe to warrant caning. It’s really about washing horribly dirty linen in public by highlighting his plight publicly. Now the world knows what bad and horror he had done. Singapore is a country that still administers caning in prison. We still have capital punishment. The authorities make no apology for this. The boy is lucky to be caned in school and learn from this than being caned in prison for committing serious crime when he grows up.

  4. Kudos to Horizon Pri for not wavering under parental and public pressure. Discipline must be upheld at all times. Singapore must never go down the road of lawlessness like the west. You spare the rod you spoil the child.

  5. Is there a guideline for how much force to apply in such barbaric flogging? Or it is also within the rules to split open the flesh and use whole weight to apply such cases of corporal punishment? So if the child ends up dead due to the caning e.g. heart attack from fright due to the severe pain or throw a fit and choke to death it is still within the rules too?

    • No parents would allow the school to punish their children to such an extent!
      Need to report to MOE.
      This means the school fails to guide and teach this boy.
      Sending a child to school is not only for education purposes but also an extension of their parents’ good and proper upbringing.

    • Instead of counselling the boy, the VP takes the easy barbaric way out -by canning. The idiot VP should.be canned as a punishment and let him feel the pain.

    • Diamond Wong why is it the school failed? What are the parents for? They are not responsible for how their kids turn out to be?

      In this case, it’s obvious the parents failed in their role as parents so the school have to step in.

      Calling it like you do, are you gonna be held responsible if he become a menace? It’s easy to say when you are not held accountable for anything.

      I would not want to see my tax dollars go towards feeding him in prison

    • If the boy dies of a heart attack then it would be the heart attack that killed him. Not the caning.

      If punishments are not scary and meant to leave an impression then why have punishment at all!?

      He is a repeat offender, why didn’t his parents do something to prevent this episode from happening? What are his parents for?

  6. What is ‘we didn’t expect the scar that he is now left with’!? OF COURSE THERE WILL BE A SCAR!

    So they accepted he should be punished but they expected to be able to hide it to save face!?

    I say the caning is righteous! Now he will think twice about breaking school rules!

    And stop using ADHD as an excuse, it’s not even a real problem and 90% of kids have that! Lay off the sugar and see a child psychiatrist for medication if necessary.

    Traumatized? Good! He will not repeat.

    Spare the rod spoil the child!

    • Michael I disagree with your harsh view. Please be objective n find out d details of d boy’s act of indiscipline n d actions of d school. Sometimes in our self righteousness we forget to empathise with d victim in this case. U wouldn’t b taking this view if your son/ grandson were to be on d receiving end. Have a heart my fellow Singsporean

    • Freddie Kee why would you assume I would not have the same view with my own?

      Are parents these days spoiling and over protecting their kids?

      I have my style of upbringing and therefore my view. You can disagree, and your kids your way. But I don’t need you to be holier than thou and tell me whether I’m right or not.

      The boy brought cards to school for what? Because they are educational? After all the parents signed the form to agree for punishment. They just thought they can hide it. Surprise surprise, punishments are supposed to leave an impression and hopefully the mark will remind the child not to repeat and to think thrice before doing anything in the future.

      Putting the whole matter to ADHD is nonsense. Most kids are hyper active these days because of their diet and parents indulgence.

      If the parents fails in their parenting, then the school should do the job. If the parents are sufficient then the school doesn’t need to step in.

      I hope your strawberry treatment of your kids, afraid their feelings will be hurt, would not make them to be a problem for society when you cannot control them anymore. Ultimately as parents, the buck stops with you. If your kid is a screwed up, the fault lies with you! Not what’s on telly or the internet or bad influence.

  7. The Singapore landscape has changed. The school principals has massive powers. Or there would not be cases as the abuse of powers involving favouring lovers in the awarding of contracts. Did the principals have to inform parents first? Parents used to have a say. I object to sign a slip of paper permitting the school render physical punishments. I wrote that I must be informed and present for anything to happen. Many years ago, a student of Cedar Sec School jumped to her death following some discipline matters at school. The parent did not know till after.

    • Howe Peek One parent thought it was “Okay” to punish her ADHD child and agreed to public caning. Would it surprised you that even though he has special needs, he can feel very strong repulsion to being “Shamed”. His reaction to this incident was so great, he was put on suicide watch and undergone a period of therapy. I learned to tell the school that no corporal punishment can be meted without first consulting with me and only if I were present if I agree. My German friend told me that is the way in her country. I have known of some cases of suicide and it was not published in the papers.

    • What we want to know is what form of help d school has given to this child before resorting to such a harsh form of punishment. Schools have trained counsellors to help children with behavioural tendencies…has this boy received such intervention. Has d school involved d parent in counselling him n helping him resolve his behavioural problem.

    • It is said the boy was counseled and his parents approval was sought prior to the caning. What more ‘evidence’ needed?

      Why did his parents allow him to bring poker cards to school? Because it is educational, A for Ace, B for Blackjack?

      Besides from the photo, that area is not the thigh! It’s slightly below the buttocks which mean the boy could have and very naturally moved when the stroke landed.

      Anyone with personal experiences with being caned would know, don’t move otherwise the stroke will land elsewhere than intended.

    • Many people send their children to school. How many of us know our rights? I can assure any new parent that they should at least find out more what rights they have to stand up for their child. It was not too long ago that the govt made school compulsory only till Primary 6. This is not in the interest of citizens. Making school compulsory for all until completion of Sec 4 would give protection to all children. If it is not mandated, then your child can be thrown out of school. If it is compulsory, I think they ensure you send your children to school. Do not be misled by the school staff. Unless you have witness with you who knows the law, it is possible to powerless and accept what is on the table.

    • I think ACS is a very good school. If one is lucky to be in it. It is because they have to subscribe to “Christian” values in a way it is more humane. I am referring to its normal schools. My kids, one went to govt JC another went to ACJC. It is very different.

  8. This is disgusting. MOE should not condone such brutal punishment. Whoever did this to the boy should be charged in court for child abuse and sentenced to jail. He should also have his service terminated immediately. He is not fit to be in the education service.

  9. I sincerely hope this principal b brought to justice… I had an experience as a mum when my daughter was in her primary years n she had a real nasty female teacher who picked on her… My daughter being of meek nature was terrified of her n didn’t enjoy going to school…we went to see her teacher n had a good talk with her ..she sarcastically told the class that somebody’s parents came to see her…. But she was more relaxed after our talk n treated my daughter better n was less picky.. Glad to say my daughter did v well n her results were gd.. A child needs patience n guidance not just scaring n whacking them… God bless this child!!!!

    • If dunno how to 管教 your child. That’s your fault. Dun blame the school. School didn’t take a gun point at u and ask u to bring poker cards to their premises. Too cane liao cow peh cow bu.

  10. This cruel whipping must have been done with malice on an 11year old boy in contravention to ministry ‘s regulation.Do we have a closet sadist in the school?Parents must take this up to the highest authority

  11. This is inhumane. Just bringing poker cards can be caned that severely. That’s why some people became physically abusive because they experienced this kind of abuse in their childhood. Even the foreign maid has MOM to protect them from this kind of abuse. And does this solve the problem? Only scare and cause physical and emotional injury. The child didn’t even physically hurt anybody to deserve this kind of abuse. People who accidentally kill people’s lives thru accident don’t even get caning. Imagine the parents who spent lots of money and time and effort to rear up a child from baby to an adult and just get killed by car runover and the killer just get few years of jail and no caning for killing a precious life. And just bringing poker cards can get this severe caning. Horrible!

  12. Extremely abusive! School is for educating the youth to be good human being. And this caning act is not good. It’s bully and abuse of power. If there is caning in national service, I’ll be a bit worried.

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