GEORGE TOWN: While schools throughout the nation were honouring teachers' contribution towards students and the education system, 15 students have instead lodged a police report against a teacher using derogatory words on them.
The Form Five students of SMK Georgetown lodged a police report against a relief History teacher from Johor for allegedly using words such as 'Hindu pariah' and issuing demerit points as disciplinary action for talking in class after an examination.
However, the report was recanted following a warning allegedly issued by officers from the Education Department. The teacher has since apologised to the students and their parents but the issue is far from over.
One of the students, R. Deisigan, 17, alleged that the teacher, who has been in the school for the past three months, had verbally abused him after being reprimanded for talking.
In Deisigan's police report on May 11 and recanted on May 15, it was stated that they had finished sitting for a Bahasa Malaysia exam when the teacher asked him to keep quiet before using the derogatory term.
The students also alleged the teacher had issued demerit points based on their ethnicity and religion as disciplinary action which fueled their parents who insisted on an investigation to be conducted.
The teacher's day celebrations were further marred by a joint collaboration of eight Indian NGOs who called on the Education Department to take action against the teacher.
The NGOs submitted a memorandum to Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin, with copies sent to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas and State Education director Ahmad Tarmizi Kamaruddin.
Met at the Penang Education Department, Klinik Derma Sivasanta co-ordinator P.
Murugiah, who led the NGOs, expressed regret that there were still teachers who made racial abuses despite Najib's 1Malaysia call that preached racial equality.
"We are unhappy that the teacher said such things to the students. We want the government and political leaders to take action on the teacher.
She is still at the school and conducting classes.
"We have evidence of 15 students who were abused by this teacher who should not have used such a strong and derogatory terms.
"The word pariah was used in history textbook 'Interlok' but it has been banned yet some teachers still utter it," he said, while urging the school authorities and Education Department officers not to take action on the students," Murugiah said.
He also revealed that the students were allegedly asked to retract their reports and refrain from talking about this incident to their parents and outsiders, he said, while questioning a teacher's role in teaching honesty and moral values.
He urged the ministry and other authorities to either demote or suspend her services while investigations were conducted.
State MIC Youth J. Dhina who received the memorandum on behalf of Palanivel expressed disappointment with this incident and that it could jeopardise the trust the Indian community had for BN.
Ahmad Tarmizi was not available for comment.