SINGAPORE: A case of bullying at Mee Toh School involving a group of Primary 5 students picking on a classmate "is wrong and cannot be tolerated", said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Mar 10).
"I was dismayed and troubled when I read about the bullying case at Mee Toh School," said Mr Ong in a Facebook post.
"A group of students had picked on a Malay classmate, and wrote her nasty notes. This is bullying, is wrong and cannot be tolerated anywhere, especially in schools," he wrote.
On Mar 6, Twitter user @4YSLZ wrote a post saying that her sister's classmates had thrown some pieces of paper at her.
"My heart broke today, it was my sister's birthday yesterday & one of her classmates threw this to her face as 'birthday present'," she wrote.
The pieces of paper had insults scrawled on them, such as "you are dumbo the elephant" and "you look so ugly and you really turn me down you make puke".
This was not the first time her sister had been bullied, the Twitter user said, adding that her uniform had been scribbled on with markers, she had been called names and cyberbullied.
She said there was "only a handful of Malays" in the school and her two sisters who went to the school had been the target of racist remarks.
She also said she contacted the school and teachers, but nothing had been done.
Mr Ong said the incident goes against some "very fundamental values of what we stand for as a society".
"It does not matter whether the students might have done it out of mischief or that they are only Primary 5 students; the fact is that the victim felt that it was a racist act, and that makes it even more unacceptable," he added.
Mr Ong said the school will ensure that the students understand the seriousness of their actions and will follow up with appropriate disciplinary actions.
"Our values of kindness, respect for others, cohesiveness as a multi-racial society must be inculcated from a young age, with the collective effort of families, schools and community," he said.
"This should be a lesson for all students to learn from."
Principal of Mee Toh School Wang-Tan Sun Sun said the school is aware of the incident and has met the student's mother.
"The school does not condone bullying of any form, including racist remarks made at any individual," the principal said.
"Every incident is taken seriously, and the school will follow through with the appropriate disciplinary actions for the students involved."