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Everyone must have heard of the infamous Kinderland saga, during which a teacher at its Woodlands Mart branch forced a 23-month-old girl to lie on the ground before pouring water into her mouth, among other mistreatments.

After videos of the incident made headlines and a police investigation was launched, the 33-year-old teacher was subsequently arrested and charged in court for the ill-treatment of the child.

In the aftermath of the saga, it seems that the principal of Kinderland’s Woodlands Mart Branch has also come under fire from all the outrage sparked by the incident.

Kinderland Singapore’s general manager, Mr Seet Lee Kiang, revealed in an interview with The Straits Times that the principal, Ms Mahirah Yasid, had been redeployed to other roles in the company since 30 August.

The redeployment was also reflected in Kinderland’s Facebook Post in response to the incident.

Parents Have Called For the Principal’s Dismissal For Not Doing Enough During the Alleged Abuse Incidents.

Yasid’s redeployment seems to have come after many angry parents took to the preschool’s premises demanding answers to the same question: “What was the principal doing when the incident took place?”

On 30 August, 12 parents whose children were in the same class as the victim turned up at the preschool at 1pm demanding answers from the principal. In an interview with reporters, the parents called for Yasid’s dismissal for not doing enough in the alleged abuse incident.

A Kinderland employee initially informed the parents that the principal would be present, but she never showed up. The parents waited for the principal for two-and-a-half hours before frustratedly leaving the premises.

The parents later issued a letter to the preschool, saying they were “blindsided and deeply disappointed by the statement released by Kinderland” the day before.

The statement allegedly claimed that the school had reached out and apologised to the parents of affected children, when in fact, no apologies had been received by any of the parents.

Kinderland Principal’s Statement Contradicts Whistleblower’s Account of the Incident

This is not the first time Kinderland’s management has released statements about the abuse case at Woodlands Mart that didn’t turn out to be completely accurate.

General manager Mr Seet said Yasid viewed all three of the whistleblower’s videos at the Early Childhood Development Agency’s (ECDA) office when they started investigations.

Yasid then notified Kinderland’s headquarters verbally on 17 August about the videos of the teacher, Lin Min, force-feeding and smacking children.

Mr Seet said that the only time the whistleblower approached the principal was when she submitted her resignation on 4 July. There was no mention of the incidents in her exit interview, or any documentation that was submitted to them.

This was before Yasid was notified of the incident by ECDA.

However, this contradicts the whistleblower’s account of the incident with CNA.

According to the whistleblower, she was the only other teacher in the room when she filmed the videos of the incident. She subsequently shared the videos with some parents and said she had alerted Ms Mahirah twice about how Lin had treated pupils.

In response to the frustrated parents calling for Yasid’s dismissal, Mr Seet defended her in an interview with The Straits Times, saying that wnder the circumstances and stress, her communication with parents may have been vague, but it was never her intention to downplay or cover up.

Mr Seet also said steps are being taken to protect Kinderland pupils from abuse, especially in the Woodlands Mart branch and another branch in Choa Chu Kang, where a similar abuse case by a 48-year-old teacher is under police investigation.

These steps involve installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in all classrooms and children activity centres and reviewing Kinderland’s whistleblowing channels to better detect abuse cases in the future.

However, it seems like massive damage has already been done to Kinderland’s reputation, as numerous parents have already pulled their children out of Kinderland’s preschools.

These parents cited safety reasons as the primary cause for the withdrawal of their children.

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