Ex-Kinderland teacher who forced girl to drink water in viral video may face more charges: Prosecutor

Samuel Devaraj
The Straits Times
Sept 13, 2023

A former pre-school teacher at a Kinderland branch who allegedly ill-treated a child may be facing other similar charges, a police prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Lin Min, 33, who was previously remanded at the Institute of Mental Health for medical examination, appeared in court on Wednesday.

She was offered bail of $15,000.

As part of her bail conditions she is not allowed to contact the victim or witnesses, and has to remain contactable by the investigating officer.

The police prosecutor said investigations are ongoing.

Lin’s lawyer Pang Khin Wee said he has not had a chance to speak to his client. He added that her family members were ready to furnish the bail.

On June 30, shortly before 4pm, the Singaporean educator allegedly poured water into a 23-month-old girl’s mouth at the pre-school after forcing her to lie down.

Lin was charged on Aug 30 with one count of an offence under the Children and Young Persons Act.

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

Early childhood education provider Kinderland has more than 10 branches islandwide, including in Hougang, Siglap and Woodlands.

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) had earlier said that the educator involved was issued a warning under the Early Childhood Development Centres Regulations, and has been barred from working in the pre-school sector.

The agency acknowledged on Sept 4 that there was a lapse in its handling of the case, and said it was reviewing its systems and processes.

In a statement, it said it began investigations on Aug 11, a day after a whistle-blower provided the agency with video evidence.

ECDA said its officer had assessed that sufficient supervisory measures were put in place by the pre-school to mitigate the risk posed to the safety of the children while investigations were ongoing.

However, the officer failed to immediately remove the teacher from classroom duties, which is the established protocol for cases with clear evidence that a child’s safety is endangered.

ECDA chief executive Tan Chee Wee said the agency should have done better and apologised for not getting Kinderland to immediately remove the educator from her classroom role during investigations.

On Aug 31, ECDA said closed-circuit television cameras will be made mandatory in all pre-schools and government-funded early intervention centres by July 2024.

The announcement came amid ongoing investigations into the alleged abuse of several children at Kinderland centres.

Lin will return to court on Oct 12.

ECDA said it issued a warning to her pre-school, imposed a $5,000 penalty on the operator and reduced its licence tenure to six months with immediate effect.

The principal at Lin’s centre was replaced.

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

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 her hands and pushes his head in a rough manner.

ECDA had said the pre-school, of its own accord, placed the educator on leave of absence pending the outcome of investigations.

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

The Straits Times

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