In an e-mail to Madam Ong on Aug 28, an MOE officer said: "We agree that it was inappropriate of (the teacher) to cut (your son's) hair just before the examination.

"The principal has advised (the teacher of) a more appropriate way of handling such cases."

In the same e-mail, MOE explained that the teacher only wanted Madam Ong's son to look neat and presentable before the exam.

The ministry also noted that the school had earlier issued a letter to Madam Ong's son to remind him to cut his hair, but he had forgotten to tell Madam Ong about the letter.

A notice dated Aug 14, was given to Madam Ong's son two days before his PSLE oral exam on Aug 16.

The boy only remembered the notice and produced the notice from his school bag when TNP visited their home seven days later.

Madam Ong's reaction was one of surprise and dismay.

"I was angry that my son did not inform me about the letter and that he could be so forgetful," she told TNP then.

She had also said that her son is dyslexic and therefore absent-minded.

This comment was picked up and mentioned by Mr Heng in his speech during the MOE Work Plan Seminar.

The minister had said: "Dyslexic people are not forgetful."

But Madam Ong maintains: "I never used my son's condition as an excuse, I was merely pointing out that he's forgetful."

Ms Cara Tan, 25, a teacher from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore who has taught Madam Ong's son for three years, told TNPS that "weak memory is one of the characteristics" of a dyslexic person.

She adds: "It depends on the severity of the condition - there's a whole spectrum from mild to severe.

"In the case of Madam Ong's son, he leans towards the severe, especially in literacy and memory. "He's 12, but his reading and spelling age is that of a nine or 10-year-old.

"One of his biggest problems is memory.

"He can't remember a number of words even though he's read them before. I realise I have to teach him how to spell it a few times."

As for making a police report, Madam Ong said she wanted to put the incident on record, but only after calling the MOE twice and being told that it would be fine to go to the police.

Madam Ong says that after the first reports were published, she and her two children - she also has a 13-year-old daughter - have been affected by comments from friends and netizens.

She says: "So you bringing this up is not good. Everything has been settled, the teacher has apologised, my son has moved on. I have no issues with my son's teachers and am happy to work with them."

The MOE e-mail to Madam Ong stated that the teacher had apologised to Madam Ong and her son.

Said an MOE spokesman then: "Every school has in place school rules and discipline management processes to help students develop self-discipline. Such rules are drawn up within the broad guidelines provided by the ministry.

"We encourage you to work with the school and help (your son) move on so that he can focus (on) his preparation for his PSLE."

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