SINGAPORE: A three-year-old girl who had severe bruises on her ear told a teacher at her kindergarten that she was accidentally hurt by her brother at home, said the school on Monday (Mar 12), adding that this is why teachers did not act immediately.
The girl's mother, however, is disputing the school's account.
Ms Claudia Kwan said in a Facebook post on Monday that her daughter did not have a bruise on her ear on the morning of Feb 14 when she was dropped off at school.
Police are investigating the case, after Ms Kwan lodged a report. She shared the incident on social media on Saturday.
Ms Kwan said that none of the teachers could provide an explanation when she called the school.
However, the kindergarten said that the girl's teachers were under the impression that she got both a bruise under her eye and the bruise on her ear at home.
The school said that a teacher conducting daily health checks on Feb 14 discovered bruises below the eye of the girl.
"When asked, (her) mother was aware of the bruises and explained it was caused by an accident at home involving (her) brother," the school said in a statement.
Two hours later in the kindergarten, another teacher found bruises on the girl's ear, which were hidden by her hair.
"(She) claimed she had been accidentally hurt by her brother at home," the statement said. "As (her) explanation of the bruises on her ear seemed consistent with her mother’s account of the bruises below her eye that morning, we did not take immediate action to inform the mother on the new-found bruises."
The kindergarten said that the girl's mother called the school later that day to ask if the bruises on her daughter’s ear could have been caused during her time at the kindergarten.
"We told her that (she) had behaved normally in school and we were not aware of any incident or circumstances at the kindergarten that could have caused those bruises on her ear," the school said.
It also found no incident or circumstances that could have caused the injuries from CCTV footage or interviews with members of the staff. It has been fully cooperating with the police on its investigations, the school added.
"We also note that (she) returned to kindergarten on the next day and enjoyed the Chinese New Year celebrations with her friends," it said.
However, Ms Kwan shared in her Facebook post that her daughter was showing signs of trauma and was seeing a counsellor. She has taken her daughter out of the pre-school.
"She has been shouting out her form teacher’s name too. This has been going on every night for the past few weeks, and it pains me deeply to see my daughter in such trauma," Ms Kwan wrote.
The school added that it has communicated with all the pupils' parents to reassure them.
In response to the school's explanation that they thought the bruises on the girl's ear and under her eye were both due to an accident with her brother, Ms Kwan said there was "simply no reason" to classify the two bruises together.
In a Facebook post later on Monday, she said the bruise on her daughter's cheek was a "fading bruise" from a week ago, when she accidentally bumped into her brother while he was exercising.
"The bruise was so faded that it’s not very obvious. It’s very different from the fresh horrific bruise on her ear," wrote Ms Kwan.
She added that her daughter's hair had been tied up in the morning, and had not been covering her ear.
"The daily check-up teacher would have seen the bruise if it was present before going to school," she said.
Ms Kwan said she went in to see the school's principal the next day, and had to bring her daughter along as there was no one else to look after her.
Her daughter was very reluctant to enter the school, and after an hour or so Ms Kwan said she realised her daughter's behaviour didn't "seem right" and took her out immediately.