Former Kinderland preschool teacher charged with abusing child at Woodlands centre
Lin Min, 33, is said to have forced a 23-month-old girl to lie down before pouring water into her mouth. She was one of two Kinderland teachers arrested this week for allegedly mistreating children under their care.
SINGAPORE: A former preschool teacher was charged in court on Wednesday (Aug 30) with ill-treating a child, after video footage of her allegedly rough-handling children surfaced earlier this week.
Lin Min, 33, faces one count of ill-treatment of a child or young person. Her alleged victim cannot be identified due to a gag order imposed by the court.
District Judge Kow Keng Siong rejected her lawyer's application for the gag order to extend to her identity.
Lin, a Singaporean, is accused of ill-treating a 23-month-old child on the afternoon of Jun 30 at Kinderland Preschool @ Woodlands Mart. Court documents showed that she allegedly forced the girl to lie down and poured water into the girl's mouth.
Lin has since been fired from the school.
She was arrested on Monday, after three video clips circulated online showing her trying to force children to drink water and shouting and hitting them.
She appeared in court via a video link from Woodlands Police Division headquarters.
The judge granted the prosecution's application for her to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health. She will return to court on Sep 13.
Her lawyer requested to speak to her over the phone to sort out administrative matters and to pass along messages from her sister and family members. He added that she was a childcare teacher working under the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The judge gave permission for the lawyer to pass the messages through the investigation officer, and to speak to Lin the day before she returns to court.
If convicted under the Children and Young Persons Act, she could be jailed for up to eight years or fined up to S$8,000 (US$5,900), or both.
She was one of two Kinderland teachers arrested this week for allegedly mistreating children under their care.
The second, a 48-year-old, was nabbed on Tuesday after video footage – purportedly taken at a Kinderland preschool at Sunshine Place in Choa Chu Kang – emerged online. It showed the teacher smacking a boy on the head several times and pushing him away. She has since been suspended.
Kinderland's Woodlands Mart centre is located within the Sembawang West ward of Member of Parliament Poh Li San, who wrote on Facebook that she was assisting affected parents and children.
CNA reported on Tuesday that some parents have withdrawn their children from the preschool. One mother recounted that her daughter was “crying for no reason” on several occasions when she picked the child up, and that she “firmly believes” the girl was abused too.
The preschool’s principal, Ms Mahirah Yasid, wrote in a letter on the parents’ portal on Tuesday morning that the school has contacted the affected children’s parents and “apologised deeply to the parents and children”.
Kinderland said late on Tuesday that it would install more closed-circuit television cameras at its Woodlands and Choa Chu Kang centres.
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) added that it has directed Kinderland to “provide close guidance and support to their teachers in classroom management, so as to ensure the safety and well-being of enrolled children”.
According to the Kinderland website, Kinderland has operated for more than 40 years as an early childhood provider. It runs more than 60 centres in countries like Singapore, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia.