Don’t file police report, ITE lifeskills teacher told student who lost wallet

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Photo: Facebook, ITE College Central
 

Obbana Rajah

A few days ago, ITE student Firas Ali wrote a lengthy Facebook post about how his wallet was stolen, a teacher was hit, he was supposedly told to falsify a police report and how his wallet was returned in a bizarre and lengthy turn of events.

He outlined the events of how one of his classmates, Benjamin, stole Firas’ wallet because during lunch, the latter had shaken a table that Benjamin was sleeping on. This enraged Benjamin, who took the wallet.

In the meantime, Student Guidance Officers (SGOs) had found out that Benjamin was the one who had nicked the wallet.

In a series of text messages, Benjamin confessed to Firas, saying that he had thrown the wallet away and that another classmate, Malcolm, knew about the incident.

In class, a confrontation arose between Malcolm, who had been staring at Firas, and Firas himself. However, when Malcolm threw a chair at Firas, it missed him and hit their lifeskills teacher, Ms Cindy.

According to Firas, Ms Cindy blamed the whole incident on him, “Firas it’s your fault who asked you to bang Benjamin’s table when his sleeping. You irritate people so you deserve what happened to you”.

Ms Cindy also went on to say that the students were free to do as they wished once her class was over and that she could not exercise any control over them.

Another teacher, Mr Yap, agreed that Firas should make a police report.

However, Firas was apparently pressured by the school to not make a police report. But since he had to do it to replace his identity card, the school urged him to state that he had simply misplaced his wallet and that it was not stolen.

Firas dropped his police report when Benjamin agreed to replace the entire contents of Firas’ wallet. However, Benjamin disappeared and Firas was told that he would have to go through a lawyer to get his money.

A few days later, Firas’ father received text messages from an unknown number, who returned the wallet to them.

 

From this whole saga, two things stand out.

One: The behaviour of their lifeskills teacher, Ms Cindy. Netizens have taken the time to identify her picture on the school’s Facebook website and to single her out. She has also since deleted her personal Facebook account.

 

Two: The identity of the mysterious person who text messaged Firas’ father. It could be Benjamin just trying to settle the situation but not wanting to actually face up to it. Or maybe trying to assuage his guilt somehow.

 

Update:

An ITE spokesperson reached out to us for comment. Below is their statement published on Facebook:

It reads:

ITE is aware of a Facebook post by one of our students, Mohamad Firas, regarding his wallet which was stolen in school and the follow-up actions taken by the institution. The College does not condone theft and views this very seriously. We had worked very closely with Firas since he reported his wallet missing on 8 Feb 2018 and had managed to identify the student who took his wallet on 13 Feb, a few days after he reported the loss. The student admitted taking the wallet.

On the same day, a scuffle broke out between Firas and his classmate during class. The lecturer who was in the class had no prior knowledge of Firas’ stolen wallet and was unaware that the students’ scuffle was related to it. Her main aim was to resolve the conflict between the students.

Our staff had advised Firas and his family to make a police report of the theft, should they wish to. We understand that Firas had made a police report on 14 Feb, and the police have since investigated and have given the student who stole the wallet a stern warning. Separately, the College will convene a disciplinary committee on Mon 30 Apr, and decide on the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken for the student. The College is also currently working with the families of the two students to resolve this issue amicably.

– ITE Spokesperson


obbana@theindependent.sg