Recent spate of inappropriate behaviour by teachers leads MOE to step up vigilance

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The Ministry of Education has announced that it will be working more closely with local schools to step up vigilance and ensure that students are better protected from errant teachers.

This, after a recent spate of inappropriate behaviour by local teachers brought disrepute to the profession. Multiple cases involving teacher misconduct went to court so far this year, with offences ranging from sending students inappropriate messages, committing indecent acts on students and even getting pupils to buy drugs for teachers.

  • 25 JUNE – A secondary school teacher was jailed three weeks after he pleaded guilty to printing two counterfeit Singapore $100 dollar notes and using them to pay for the massage services of a Vietnamese woman, whom he testified he had sex with. The teacher claimed that he had photocopied and printed the $100 dollar notes at home, to use it as a teaching tool during his maths class at Bukit Batok Secondary School.
  • 13 JULY – A physics teacher was jailed for a year and four months after he shared intimate relations with a 15-year-old student. The teacher was caught by a police officer hugging and kissing the teenager at East Coast Park.
  • 16 JULY – A male teacher squeezed a 13-year-old child’s chest and touched the boy’s groin and buttock as he told him that he resembled a Japanese pornographic comic character. The teacher is presently out on bail and will return to court on 14 August.
  • 25 JULY – A district court heard that a teacher at Meridian Secondary School told her student about her methamphetamine consumption, prompting the student to offer his help to find her a cheaper drug supplier. The teacher gave her student $200 to buy the drugs but the boy was caught during a CNB spot check. While the student was sentenced to probation of two years and three months, MOE sacked the teacher.

Just today, The New Paper reported that the National Junior College sacked a relief physical education teacher in his late 20s for inappropriate behaviour after he sent inappropriate messages to female students from April to June this year.

In one exchange, the teacher told a 17-year-old girl to “go into my heart” and meet him in his “comfortable room” to play games. The teenager’s boyfriend claimed that he took the matter to the school’s vice-principal who allegedly brushed the issue under the carpet and refused to take action.

NJC has since disputed that allegation. It has clarified that an investigation was launched and that the teacher admitted to his inappropriate behaviour and apologised. The teacher’s employment at the school was subsequently terminated.

Referring to the Code of Professional Conduct for Educators, which was instated in 2013 and provides rules regarding personal relationships with students, an MOE spokesperson told reporters:

“In the service, we continue to emphasise our high expectations of educators’ conduct, through regular conversations within the teaching fraternity to share and reiterate the Code of Professional Conduct for Educators.

“We take a serious view of every case where staff fall short of expected standards. To safeguard the well-being of our students, MOE is working closely with schools to step up vigilance.”

The Ministry declined to provide further details.