Singapore parent sues school principal and here's WHY!

A Singapore parent sues school principal, and here is why the case has sparked debate among parents and educators alike!

A Singapore parent has just taken legal action against the principal of a famous school over a...phone!

Singapore parent sues school principal

According to Channel NewsAsia, the incident apparently involves the principal of Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) Barker Road.

And here is the whole issue simplified, according to The New Paper's report:

  • On March 21, a student admitted to his secondary school principal that he had used an iPhone 7 during school hours on March 8.
  • The principal followed the school rules, and the phone was confiscated, and the SIM card was returned, together with a receipt stating that it would be returned after 3 months.
  • On March 21, the parent of the student wrote to the principal, saying that the phone was actually his, and he wanted it returned. He justified that, "a three-month confiscation is disproportionate to the offence",  and that, his son had promised to follow the rules thereafter.
  • He did not get a positive reply to his request, so this parent took the principal to court.

The Judge's decision

District Judge Clement Julien Tan ruled in favour of the school principal, as he was just following the school rules which very clearly stated that if a student was caught using a phone during school hours, it would be confiscated for at least 3 months. According to Judge Tan, if the parent had an issue with it, he "could have enrolled his son in another school".

He also emphasised that if the phone was returned early, it would defeat the very purpose of school rules and discipline.

The case has become a hot topic of discussion among Singapore parents and educators alike. Most parents are surprised by the guts of this parent to take the matter to court. 

Singapore parent sues school

Is it a common policy in Singapore schools to confiscate phones? 

Secondary school teacher and mum of 3, Nasreen Majid, has this to say, "The rules differ from school to school. Some schools allow students to have phones so long as they don't use them. Some have to keep it in their locker or bags all day long, until it's lesson transition or recess time."

"Some teachers bring a box and make the kids deposit all their phones in it until the lesson is over. In secondary schools, however, students are often required to use handphones for lessons- if it's an IT lesson, or if they are given permission to listen to music while doing their work, or to Google information."

"But the general consensus is not to be caught using it, if no permission is given and confiscation is the norm. The duration varies. In my school they keep the phone for 3 days."

National Institute of Education Don, Dr Jason Tan, has been quoted by Channel NewsAsia as saying, “Being the head of a state institution, a school principal has to abide by the legal mandate entrusted to him or her by the Ministry of Education (MOE). It’s not like hiring a private home tutor for your child where that person answers to you, you are the direct employer and you set the guidelines.”

I guess it’s easy enough for parents when they enrol a child in a school to agree with the imposition of rules. But perhaps it’s a different matter when their child is involved. You feel the impact much more directly when your own child is affected by the punishment.

Who do you think is in the right, parents? Let us know in the poll below:

Also READ: Singapore mum enraged over school haircut punishment!

(Source: The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, The New Paper)