Sexual Misconduct by Educators Towards Their Students

Published Date: 28 January 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Sembawang GRC

Question

To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) how many cases of educator sexual misconduct have been reported and investigated over the past five years; (b) how many of these cases have been inconclusive after investigations and what action has been taken; (c) what steps have been taken to monitor the conduct of teachers whose cases have been found inconclusive; and (d) what steps have been taken to separate the teachers from the students in these inconclusive cases.

Response

The Ministry of Education does not tolerate sexual misconduct by educators towards their students. We take every case reported to us very seriously, and all such allegations are reported to the Police. Officers are suspended from service while investigations take place, so that they are separated from students. Those found guilty are not allowed to remain in service. If necessary, the Ministry will conduct its own investigations to establish the facts and to take appropriate disciplinary action.

For cases where it is inconclusive whether there has been any sexual misconduct but it is established that there has been a serious breach of professional boundaries, officers will still be dismissed. The safety of students is topmost in the Ministry’s mind when it manages such cases. In the very minority of cases where there is insufficient evidence to mount a case for either sexual or professional misconduct, but there remains sufficient evidence to raise genuine concerns, officers will be redeployed to jobs that do not require them to interact with students.

Over the past five years, there have been 14 such cases of sexual misconduct that have been reported to the Police and prosecuted in Court. Educators who have transgressed and fallen short of the Ministry’s standards of expected behaviour form a very small minority of the teaching force. However, every case is one case too many. We expect all educators to conduct themselves in a manner which upholds the integrity of the profession and the trust placed in them.

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