Jail for ex-teacher who harassed school principal with abusive messages after student was killed in accident

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
November 8, 2022

A former teacher who harassed the principal of a school he taught in and a female lecturer in unrelated incidents was on Tuesday sentenced to 10 days’ jail and a fine of $2,500.

The 47-year-old man, who left the school in 2017, sent anonymous text messages, letters and e-mails between 2018 and 2021 accusing the principal of having hands “stained with a child’s blood” after the death of a student.

He pleaded guilty in September to two counts of harassment.

The man, who has been working as a private tutor since 2019, cannot be named owing to a gag order to protect the victims’ identities.

The offender was unhappy with the principal as he disagreed with his management style. He had also found it difficult to work with the principal.

When the offender found out that a student from the school had been killed in an accident, he decided to distress his former boss by sending anonymous abusive letters to him.

The offender also sent similar letters to other people, including a church elder and the principals of three other schools, as he wanted them to know how his former boss had purportedly mismanaged issues linked to the student’s death.

Details about the fatal accident were not disclosed in court documents.

In earlier proceedings, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Hao said: “The accused prepared 20 similar anonymous letters.

“Each letter was enclosed in an official envelope from the National University of Singapore and contained a note with the following abusive words: ‘Heavy is the head which weareth the crown, eyes tainted with guilt, tongue defiled by lies, bloody are thy hands which are stained with a child’s blood’.”

The principal was named in each note, which also contained a “death threat”, giving the impression that he would die in 2021.

To cover his tracks, the offender used envelopes he had found at the void deck of a block of flats.

On Feb 9, 2021, he left his Boon Keng flat and travelled to Sengkang, where he used a public phone to make an anonymous call to the principal.

He then told the principal that the man had “blood on (his) hands” before hanging up.

The principal later told a colleague about the call and found out that the school had received multiple anonymous letters. The principal then read one of them.

DPP Tan said: “To the (principal), the note read like an epitaph from a tombstone. He was told that the first line of the note was a quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV. The last line was a death threat and gave the impression that (he) would die in 2021. As a result, the (principal) felt devastated, scared and threatened.”

The principal alerted the police.

In unrelated incidents in 2020, the former teacher sent anonymous text messages to a female lecturer whom he felt was “quite high-handed” and unkind when he was one of her students.

One of the messages said: “Your stint (at the school) is testament that those who can’t do, teach. But, come to think of it, you can’t even teach, to save your life.”

The woman lodged a police report on April 3, 2020.

The Straits Times

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