PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A photo of a young student in Malaysia eating his food while squatting on a school canteen floor, as parents of other children filled up seats, has gone viral.
The sight of the child eating alone on the floor prompted a teacher to write a Facebook post about the situation.
Teacher Mohd Fadli Salleh said that the lone student pictured may not have been the only one forced to eat his or her meal on the floor.
"The canteen chair is the right of the student. It is where students sit down to eat.
"It is not for parents to sit down and tend to their own children, depriving other students of the space," said Mohd Fadli on Wednesday (Jan 3).
Mohd Fadli told mStar Online that the general rule at school is that parents are not allowed to sit on canteen chairs unless there is excess seating.
"Some schools give parents permission to accompany their children at the beginning of the school term, including spending break time with them," he said.
He said this was understandable as their children may not be used to buying food, calculating the cost and the change to be received.
According to Mohd Fadli, this rule was communicated to parents during an orientation session but some had "overlooked" it.
He said the problem arises when parents decide to sit on canteen benches meant for students.
He said other students would be deprived of a place to sit and eat, possibly even going hungry.
He urged parents to respect school rules and be more considerate towards other students.
"Parents, imagine your children not being able to eat during their break. The children come back from school complaining that they are hungry because canteen seats were full due to visiting parents," he said.
"Surely you will be angry and sad? That is what you feel, and that is what other students feel when they are made to go hungry," said Mohd Fadli.
"So when it is crowded, do not sit down, just stand near the table," he added.