Chinese paper Shin Min Daily News recently reported that a female teacher from Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH), believed to be the Secondary 4 year head, had unbuttoned students’ uniforms to check the colour of their bra straps during an attire check on Tuesday (22 January).
The paper reported that NYGH students are allowed to wear only white or beige undergarments.
It appears that a parent informed the Chinese paper that the teacher who was conducting the attire check was doing it on behalf of the male form teacher. However, the teacher allegedly opened the collar buttons of students’ uniform and pulled out their bra straps during the checks.
The Straits Times (ST) wrote that, in response to their queries on Tuesday (29 January), NYGH’s head of relations and heritage Zhang Bo noted that a female teacher’s method in carrying out a recent routine attire check “had caused some students to feel uncomfortable”.
In a statement, he confirmed that "the principal has sent an e-mail to all parents to clarify the matter and reassure them". The school has also apologised to students and parents regarding this incident.
NYGH's attire policy looks at educating students to be neat and presentable, and guidelines cover students' general grooming and full attire, Mr Zhang said.
The school has spoken to its students and is monitoring the affected girls, he added. The teacher involved has also apologised to the students.
According to ST, several students later posted about the incident on social media, mentioning their disappointment at the way the checks were carried out. However, many of these postings have since been removed.
Although it appears that students are upset over this incident, an affected girl thinks otherwise.
Aurora Woo wrote that the attire check wasn't as bad as it seems and the media is over-exaggerating the incident. She said the teacher was actually very kind, responsible and well-liked by the students. Her intention was just to check the bra colour, and for most students she only looked at the shoulder area, minus one student where she actually unbuttoned the shirt. Woo admits that it was a mistake by the teacher and the teacher has apologised to that particular student immediately after the incident. "Nanyang kids and teachers have already forgiven her and we have moved on, so can everyone just calm down?" Woo added.
Chong Sook Fern, who is the parent to one of NYGH's students, also felt that the media has exaggerated the incident. She explained that "the school has already emailed a memo to explain and apologised pertain to this issue. Why need to resort to media? Is it appropriate?" She also said that her daughter loves the school and she will continue to "support, believe and trust the school."
Facebook user Clare Means Bright said that this is an isolated case and the media has sensationalised the whole issue. She said that it's unfair to make unnecessary comments on the school as students and parents were addressed immediately by the school.
In an attempt to prevent this incident to reoccur, Yn Hun suggested that the school can consider changing the colour of the uniform to a darker shade or use a thicker material so the bra colour won't be visible.