Ex-Kinderland teacher charged with ill-treatment of child for forcing water down pre-schooler's mouth

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Aug 30, 2023

A former pre-school teacher at a Kinderland branch was hauled to a district court on Wednesday after she allegedly poured water into a 23-month-old girl’s mouth after forcing her to lie down.

Lin Min, 33, who appeared in court via video-link, is accused of ill-treating a child – an offence under the Children and Young Persons Act.

The Singaporean woman is accused of committing the offence at the pre-school shortly before 4pm on June 30.

Details about the victim and the exact location of the incident cannot be disclosed because of a gag order.

An online search reveals that early childhood education provider Kinderland has more than 10 branches in different places islandwide, including Hougang, Siglap and Woodlands.

Police said in an earlier statement that officers received a report at around 1pm on Monday about videos circulating online showing a pre-school teacher allegedly abusing young children.

They added that officers from Jurong Police Division identified the woman and arrested her within six hours of the report.

Videos of a pre-school teacher forcing children to drink water and hitting a child on the buttocks with a book had earlier gone viral on the Internet.

The Early Childhood Development Agency said the teacher in question had been dismissed.

Lin will be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for medical examination, and her case has been adjourned to Sept 13.

Another Kinderland teacher, 48, who is also accused of abusing a child, was arrested on Tuesday.

This other woman was seen in a video clip surrounded by several children, including a boy holding a water bottle.

As the boy drinks from the bottle, the woman raises both hands and pushes his head in a rough manner.

Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim had earlier told The Straits Times: “Some parents reached out to me personally, and although they can’t tell if their children are affected or were involved, they were worried about their children.

“Some (of the children are) as young as 2½ (years). One parent’s child is in the same class as the one in the video. We will be seeking updates from the investigating authorities.”

He added that parents may want to seek a transfer to another pre-school or engage interim help in the meantime.

Kinderland said on Tuesday evening that it had received six requests for withdrawal from the two centres where the women worked. A total of 200 children had been enrolled in the two centres.

The pre-school added that it would step up measures to address the welfare of children and teachers.

These will include expanding the installation of closed-circuit televisions in all classrooms and the children’s activity areas at both centres.

It said: “While isolated and rare incidents do happen, Kinderland has taken, and will continue to take, a proactive stance in addressing issues that arise and will continue to uphold a zero-tolerance policy of no abuse to anyone, child or adult.”

For ill-treating a child, an offender can be jailed for up to eight years and fined up to $8,000.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.