I appreciate it if you could take some time to read this post. It’s a long post as I’m seeking advice.
I’m writing this with a heavy heart. I had not expected this to happen to me despite multiple abuse cases that took place in Singapore in the past.
This is how it happened in detail:
On 14th Feb 2018, I sent my 3-year-old daughter to school in the morning. Early in the morning, I got her dressed and tied up her hair, before sending her to school while she was perfectly normal and happy.
However, when my husband picked my daughter up from her preschool, on the way home, he sensed that something was not right with my girl’s mood, so he parked his car and turn around; only to see that something very unusual and totally unexpected had happened to her ear. Her messy hair covered part of the ear and she was sweaty after a whole day in school but what he saw was a horrific bruise on the top of her ear. When they reached home, my hubby asked me to check what had happened to her ear and to my horror, her ear was badly bruised to such an extent that it was swelling badly. My heart bled and when I asked my daughter about what had happened, she lost control and just broke down into tears and cried.
I called the school to ask what had happened in school and none of the teachers could provide me with a recount of any incident in the school that might have caused the bruise. The form teacher said that it was a mystery.
I informed the school that I would be sending my daughter to a PD to check what had happened and how bad the injury was. Long story short, the PD, upon seeing my girl’s ear, was shocked too. He diagnosed it as a form of traumatic bruising that was caused by the exertion of great intentional force, and not a result of insect bites or drug allergies.
I followed up by informing my daughter’s preschool principal about the PD’s diagnosis and proceeded to lodge a police report. After the police report, I called to update my daughter’s form teacher and she sounded utterly surprised and shocked that I had reported the incident to the police. The police requested that I returned to the station last week to give a detailed report after my daughter has calmed down a little and would be able to recount the incident better. She then told the police officer the exact teacher who pinched and twisted her ear.
On the 15th February (Chinese New Year Eve), I sent my girl to KKH for a re-diagnosis and second opinion and it was classified as a “non-accidental injury” that was suspected to be inflicted by a teacher. I went to the preschool to seek assistance, but did not expect to be met with loads of excuses and indifference by the supervisor of the school. Essentially, his message to me is all my daughter’s teachers are from the church affiliated to the preschool (implying that they are Christians), and that he fully believes and trusts that none of his teachers would abuse a child to such an extent.
I’m writing here to ask for help from fellow parents on how should I handle this. It has been a rocky 3+ weeks, yet I still do not have any satisfactory answers. Ever since this incident, every night, my girl would wake up suddenly from her nightmares, crying out, “I’m scared, I’m sorry, please, stop, pain!” 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. She is tormented day after day by the incident and her behaviour has even undergone drastic changes. She is now very temperamental and bursts into rage or tears at times, sometimes even out of the blue for no apparent reason.
Furthermore, my husband is still recovering from a stroke that he suffered in last December, so our family of five are facing financial difficulties; yet I still have to seek help from a psychiatrist and a counsellor for my daughter. They have told me that my daughter is indeed traumatised badly. As a mother, seeing my daughter suffer day by day renders my heart to shreds and it puts a heavy strain on me emotionally and physically. The psychiatrist even told me that I am experiencing acute stress reactions from my constant worry and fear over my daughter’s well-being.
I’m extremely stressed and exasperated by the inefficiency of the police, disappointed with the preschool that it’s not taking any responsibility or action to solve this case. In fact, the preschool is still allowing the suspected teacher to continue teaching while risking the safety of many other young children under her care.
I have since reported the matter to ECDA and even a MP. ECDA has commented that as this is a police case, they could only determine their next course of action pending the outcome of the police’s investigation. The police has reverted that they can’t reveal any CCTV footage to me. Neither did they do anything to reassure me that the investigation is progressing well, leaving me in the dark and constant fear day after day.
As a mother, why can’t I even have the right to know what had happened to my daughter in her preschool??!! Till date, she is still suffering from trauma and I have no way of knowing what exactly had happened in the school. What can possibly cause a teacher (who is a mother of a young child herself and has been in the school for at least 10 years) to do this to a young child of 3 years old. We were told she was on leave for more than a year and only just came back to work this year. Nothing could a 3-year-old child do to warrant such an intense and painful punishment, causing her to bear an intense hatred and fear of her preschool and teacher. It has been more than 3 weeks and my daughter’s ear still has not healed completely.
There is still a faint bruise mark. Can anyone imagine how bad her injury was and how much force the teacher had inflicted? I’m certain that this incident had happened in her preschool, for my daughter is petrified of the preschool and teacher now, yet the preschool claims that they have no idea whatsoever how the incident had occurred! This is so far fetched and ridiculous! How can it be that the teachers have no clue about the incident? I did not receive any calls and notifications about her injury at all. My daughter should have been crying at a certain point, yet none of her teachers took notice?
How could I find peace when besides being denied access to all CCTV footages (by the preschool and police), I have also not been receiving any meaningful updates regarding this “mysterious” case? The supervisor himself said there are a lot of blind spots in the school which the CCTVs could not capture and hence the CCTVs may not have recorded the incident on footage. The classrooms and some parts of the school do not have any CCTVs. He cited the reason that the installation of CCTVs is not a requirement by ECDA and hence it is not compulsory for them to have CCTVs in class. The supervisor added that ECDA said CCTVs are not meant to be used to keep an eye on teachers and students, but to be used as safety measures against strangers entering the school premise. How absurd! Surely the school could have been more responsible and placed CCTVs in the classrooms so as to be able to account for their students at all times. Children are very susceptible to injury, so CCTVs would allow the school to keep track of their students, and to be able to give an accurate account to their parents should any incident take place in the school.
I’m slipping into depression now. I tried to be strong and cope with my hubby’s acute stroke since end of last year. However, seeing my daughter suffer everyday has taken a serious toll on me. All my family members are going through a difficult time now, yet we can’t have the peace of mind or reassurance from the preschool and police. After the incident, my daughter has been so badly traumatised that going to school seems to be an issue. She has since stopped attending that preschool.
Back home, when I was reading story books to her, she would suddenly say that her teacher is “the evil wolf” in the story of the Three Little Pigs and that she was the “wicked queen” in Snow White or that her soft toys would help to protect her from her evil teacher. Even when she heard minor renovation noise from my neighbour’s flat, she would say that it was the sound of her teacher coming to pull her ear once again and she would break into tears!
I seriously can’t take it anymore and I’m at my wit’s end. I’m very desperate to seek advice on what I can do for my daughter, hence I am resorting to this platform for advice so that I can have a closure on this. I can’t help my daughter when I have no idea what had taken place and why would the teacher do this to her. Every time we mentioned her form teacher’s name, she would shiver in fear and break into tears. Everyone of us is a parent here, surely you will be able to empathise with me and understand the pain I’m going through now. I want to take seek justice against the teacher for causing and inflicting such harm to my young girl, yet the irresponsible school management appears indifferent and simply shows no compassion with regards to this matter. What can I do? Could someone please advise me?