Mother jailed 6 weeks for punching student welfare officer at son's primary school

SINGAPORE - Unhappy with a student welfare officer at her son's school for nudging the child's back, a mother confronted the woman and punched her face multiple times.

On Tuesday (Sept 25), the 49-year-old Singaporean administrative officer was jailed for six weeks after pleading guilty to one count of assaulting a public servant.

The two women and the school cannot be named as this case involved a minor whose identity must be protected.

The mother had accompanied her seven-year-old son to his primary school in the southern part of Singapore at around 7.30am on May 19 last year and noticed that he was reluctant to enter the premises when they reached the gate, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Quek Jing Feng.

The 32-year-old student welfare officer then approached the pair.

DPP Quek said the officer, in trying to get the boy to hurry to the assembly hall as he was about to be late for assembly, used her hand to nudge his back.

"Upon seeing the victim's actions, the accused became angry and punched the victim's face."

She then shouted at the younger woman and continued to rain blows on both sides of her face.

The court heard that there were many parents and pupils in the vicinity at the time.

The officer apologised to the mother and told the school's management about the altercation.

The police were notified and the younger woman, who suffered pain in her jaw, was taken to the Singapore General Hospital.

DPP Quek urged District Judge Edgar Foo to sentence the mother to two months' jail, stressing that she had punched a vulnerable part of her victim's body - her face.

The DPP also said that the attack had taken place in the school compound, where pupils should be allowed to feel safe.

Defence lawyer Ng Boon Gan, who was assigned to the case under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, pleaded for his client to be given a two-week jail sentence.

He told Judge Foo that the attacker was an "overprotective" mother and that the younger woman had suffered no visible injuries.

For assaulting a public servant, the mother could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

The Ministry of Education said it had provided emotional support to the student welfare officer after the incident. The officer is still with the ministry.

“MOE takes a very serious view of any abuse of our staff, and we will always do what is necessary to protect them,” said a spokesman, who added that inappropriate or abusive behaviour against school staff will not be condoned.

“Any staff member who is threatened can escalate the incident to his or her supervisors and senior colleagues, who will then step in to take appropriate action,” added the spokesman.