Tan Chin Tai, a 44-year-old adjunct teacher registered under the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) database, has been sentenced to seven weeks in jail after he pushed a ten-year-old boy. The boy was allegedly bullying his son every day, which included distressing acts of harassment such as pushing, verbal abuse and other bullying behaviour for the past two years.
What happened in Tan Chin Tai’s case?
According to a report by Channel News Asia, Tan had pushed the ten-year-old bully on July 7, 2017, which sent the boy sprawling into some garbage. It was later found out that the boy sustained a small fracture in one of his ribs because of the incident. Due to the circumstances of the case a personal injury lawyer was contacted.
The report said that Tan was approaching the school gate with his own son (who was allegedly the one being bullied for two years), and grabbed the reported bully’s bag strap. Tan then grabbed the boy’s chest and pushed him to a nearby rubbish shed, pushing him onto the wall and scolding him.
He said: “Just because you are bigger in size, you can bully others.” He also added that, “Since you can bully my son, I can bully you.”
Didn’t the school intervene with the alleged bullying?
It’s easy to understand the rage of a parent when they find out that their child is being bullied, but the school usually has the jurisdiction to handle matters such as these before things are escalated.
The report, however, said that the incidents of bullying had been reported to the school, which had the two children in Primary 4 at the time. The name of the school has been withheld to protect the victims.
Tan had reported the bullying to the school, said his lawyer, Cory Wong, “But alas nothing concrete materialised from the reports”.
“Tan was instead told that the victim had anger management issues and felt that his concerns were being brushed aside.”
Bully was also vulnerable versus Tan
According to the report, the defence insisted that the bullying incident pertaining to Tan’s son meant that a fine would be enough to resolve the case, or at most four weeks in jail. But the case proceedings highlighted that Tan was still an adult and that he should not have taken his anger out on a child, even if that child did allegedly bully his own son.
Tan had offered $200 to the victim to compensate for medical expenses, but the latter had not accepted the amount for fear of the action influencing the court decision.
The judge in the case said that only requiring Tan to pay a fine in light of the injured child would set a dangerous precedent, “I think we also know that for 10-year-old children, bullying and disputes do happen and that has to be dealt with according to a certain framework,” said the judge.
“If I take the position that such behaviour between children justifies an adult going to school and inflicting the kind of injury that happened in this case … what kind of precedent would that set?”
The fact that the offense was not premeditated did make things better for Tan, and he was allowed to speak with his friends for a moment before being lead away from the court.
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