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Schoolgirl’s death: PTA calls for patience, offers aid to family

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 9/2/2018 FMT Reporters

a blurry image of a boy: Vasanthapiriya_600new © Provided by MToday News Sdn Bhd Vasanthapiriya_600new GEORGE TOWN: The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of SMK Methodist Nibong Tebal, today pleaded for patience as police investigate all aspects surrounding the attempted suicide and death of student M Vasanthapiriya.

The 13-year-old died on Feb 1 at the Seberang Jaya Hospital eight days after she attempted suicide in her house over accusations that she had stolen her teacher’s phone.

She never regained consciousness while she was in hospital where her father had taken her following her attempt to hang herself on Jan 24.

The PTA also extended its condolences to Vasanthapiriya’s family, and expressed regret and sadness over what had happened.

“We would like to plead with everyone to give the state education department and the police time and space to probe this matter.

“We have and will be giving compassionate aid to the family of the deceased,” the PTA said today on the back of a meeting held to discuss Vasanthapiriya’s case.

Also present at the meeting were the school’s principal Mustafa Man, PTA chairman Teoh Seang Hooi and a representative from the South Seberang Perai district police headquarters.

Aside from the compassionate aid, the PTA meeting also approved a motion to remind all teachers to fully adhere to the education ministry’s standard operating procedure (SOP), when it comes to disciplinary issues involving students.

“We also plead with all quarters to restore the good relationship among the students, parents and teachers in this school, which has taken a hit due to this incident,” the PTA said.

In the meantime, the PTA requested the district education office and state education department to send an experienced English teacher to fill in the vacancy left behind by the teacher who was transferred out over the Vasanthapiriya case.

Based on a police report lodged by a relative at the Prai police station, Vasanthapiriya was called in for questioning by three teachers at 2pm on Jan 24.

One of them, a woman in her 40s, accused her of stealing her iPhone 6, the report said. After the teen denied stealing the handphone, another teacher allegedly hit her on the back in full view of other students.

She was then allegedly confined to a room in the teachers’ office quarters for nearly five hours, without any food or toilet break.

At 6.45pm, the husband of the teacher who lost her handphone arrived at the school. The couple threatened to take her to the police if she did not admit to the alleged theft, the report said.

They then drove Vasanthapiriya to her house nearby to meet her parents. The teen ran up to her room, while her parents and the accuser left home “to sort things out,” the report said.

It was then that Vasanthapiriya attempted to take her life. Upon returning home at 8.20pm, her father broke into her room after repeated calls went unanswered.

She was found unconscious but alive, hanging on her ‘dupatta’ (shawl) off an air-conditioning piping, with her legs in contact with the floor. Her shocked parents also discovered a suicide note written on a torn page of her school exercise book.

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