Teacher who drove student to suicide because of a theft accusation removed from school

The teacher who drove her student to suicide after accusing her of stealing eventually found the lost phone. She has been transferred to the District Education office pending further investigation

After being accused of stealing an iPhone suicide sadly seemed to be the only option for a 14-year-old girl in Sebrang Jaya, Malaysia last week. The teen hanged herself and was rushed to the hospital after she was found unconscious.

Her parents held on to hope for over a week that the student, known only as M. Vasanthapiriya, would regain consciousness in the hospital. But she didn’t make it. What’s even more heartbreaking is in her suicide note she wrote, “Teacher, I did not take your phone.”

Teacher involved in the iPhone suicide transfers two days after her student died

Reports say the teacher and her husband (also a teacher) confronted the teen, struck her, and threatened to lodge a case on the matter. 

It’s been a week since the teacher made the accusation and two days since the student died. Now, the teacher has reportedly been removed from the school and transferred to the District Education Office. Authorities, as well as the State Education Department, are investigating the iPhone suicide case.

The teen’s aunt cries: ‘Now the [teacher] has found her phone, but what about the child?’

iphone suicide

photo: shutterstock

“Vasanthapiriya [the girl] was ashamed and angry. She could not control her feelings. Maybe that is why she decided to end her life,” Lalitha, the student’s aunt, tells NST, explaining how sensitive her niece was.

“The teacher should not have acted in such a way. Accusing a child, even hitting her. It is a smartphone.”

The teacher eventually found her phone, but sadly what could have been a minor misunderstanding resulted in the loss of a precious young life.  

“Now, she has already found her phone, but what about the child?,” she continues. “Phones can be bought anytime, but a human life? Once a person dies, she can never be brought back to life.”

iPhone suicide case sheds light on the need for sensitivity in educators

What educators and parents need to understand is that adolescence is a fragile time. 

The teenage years are a time of often overwhelming physical, emotional, psychological changes. Parents and educators have the responsibility to offer the right kind of support and understanding.

What may seem like a simple problem to adults can feel like an impossible situation to teens who are still figuring out their place in the world. When faced with a situation that can be too much for them, they can feel utterly helpless.

The Singapore Association of Mental Health says that three main concerns of adolescents are their appearance, attitude, and friends. 

Teenagers can be self-conscious about how others perceive them.

When it comes to attitude, they long to be more independent, but also need more support to make mature decisions. 

Adolescents need a supportive circle of family and friends. They place a high importance on approval and acceptance. These are just a few of a teen’s ever-changing concerns. Parents and educators need to be patient, and to be observant when it comes to signs that a teen is not coping with life in a healthy way.

If you feel that your teen is struggling in any way, there are resources in Singapore that can provide the proper support.

Here are some of them. 

  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): If you or anyone you know is feeling hopeless or emotionally distressed, call 1800-221-4444.
  • Youthline: To learn more or get support for youth causes, contact 6336-3434.
  • Teen ChallengeFor faith-based and community-based programmes and services, call 1800-829-2222.
  • Touchline: For troubled teens and youth in need of counselling, call 1800-377-2252.
  • eCounselling Centre (eC2): An online facility offering free counselling to youth – 6787 1125.
  • MeToYou Cyber Care: This is a wellness-focused organisation for youth aged 12-18 years old – 6274 6904/9173 1766. 
  • Tinkle Friend: For primary school students in need of friend to talk to or share their problems with, call 1800-2744 788. 

Sources: New Straits Times, Singapore Association for Mental Health

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