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Mon, May 31, 2010
The New Paper
Student bullies teacher by pulling her bra strap

By VEENA BHARWANI

HE was a 15-year-old student and a bully.

She was timid and his teacher.

Last May, the student pulled her bra strap during a physical education lesson.

The incident left her humiliated in front of the other students. They started laughing at the teacher,whois in her late 20s.

To make matters worse, she realised later that another student had maliciously recorded the incident on his mobile phone and uploaded it on YouTube.

This served as a catalyst for her breakdown, said the founder of Coalition Against Bullying for Children and Youths (CABCY), Esther Ng, 47, who related the teacher's story to The New Paper.

She also counsels adults.

Madam Ng, a psychotherapist, said the teacher had approached CABCY, a non-profit organisation, as she needed help coping with the episode.

Formed in 2005, CABCY runs workshops in schools for students, teachers and parents on how to deal with bullying. CABCY also offers consultation services to schools, organisations, parents and students on topics related to bullying.

Madam Ng said the teacher tried to recover from the first incident, but when one of her students showed her the video on the Internet, she went on a downward spiral.

"This teacher was humiliated and stripped of her power two times - the first time when the student sexually harassed her by flicking her bra strap and the second when another student maliciously used his mobile phone to record the incident and then uploaded and circulated the video."

She added: "She had to see a psychiatrist and was on anti-depressants."

"She was so humiliated and kept wondering who else had seen the video. It completely shattered her. She couldn't get out of bed and kept crying all the time." The video was taken down soon after it was posted online, said Madam Ng.

She said the teacher went on medical leave for one month soon after the episode.

She continued to take medical leave four or five times a month until February this year.

The teacher decided not to make a police report as she didn't want to make a big deal of a student bullying her.

Madam Ng declined to reveal more as she said the teacher is still fragile, even a year after the incident. She said the teacher was bullied because she was an easy target.

She said: "She is a nice and non-assertive person who will say yes to anything so she is a natural target for bullies.

"When her superiors come up to her with extra work, she would not say no even though she already had much to do. That was part of the problem."

Madam Ng said the teacher is learning to be more assertive in school.

"She is a bit better now, she has stopped taking medical leave and has gone off medication."

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