TRAGEDY: Teacher and Boy Scout in pain after camp fire accident
KUALA LUMPUR: THE teacher who was in charge when a boy scout was burnt in a camp fire accident two weeks ago has been hospitalised for depression and mental a evaluation.
The 26-year-old female teacher told her colleagues that she felt responsible for the injuries sustained by the scout, Haydn St James, a Form Three student, and felt like ending her life.
Both the teacher and the Boy Scout are from SMK Seri Hartamas. The teacher joined the profession a year ago and this was her first posting.
The Federal Territory Education Department has stepped in and sent the teacher for counselling and later had her admitted into a hospital for a mental evaluation.
Department director Datuk Khairil Awang said the teacher was sent to Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) for counselling and observation after her conditioned deteriorated and when she mentioned "suicide" to a colleague.
"She has now asked for a transfer to another school and we are obliging her. We have told her to go on leave pending the transfer."
The incident occurred about two weeks ago when the teacher was put in charge of a scouts gathering in the school premises where some 30 scouts attended.
One of the activities was to start a bonfire but tragedy struck when the teacher poured turpentine on the fire to show the scouts how to keep it going. However, an explosion occurred and the flames set Haydn on fire.
Haydn suffered 35 per cent burns to his face and upper body.
He is currently in a serious but stable condition at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital burns unit.
The incident was reported to the State Education Department while police are conducting their own investigations.
Khairil said it was an accident.
"The teacher is one of the better ones in the school. There has not been any complaints against her.
"From our investigations, we learnt that she was very enthusiastic about her work and was always the first to volunteer for extra-curricular activities."
She taught living skills, household economy and basic economy.
He said the teacher reported for duty the day after the incident but was shocked when several students started blaming her for what had happened to Haydn.
"That affected her emotionally and that was when the talk of suicide came about," Khairil said.
The NST has tried to visit Haydn several times in hospital but was not allowed into the burns unit.
A relative, who declined to be named, said the boy had been sedated and was in stable condition, although he is not out of danger.
Brickfields police chief Assistant Commissioner Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid described this as an "unfortunate incident".
"The teacher did not have any criminal intention to cause the boy harm. This was an accident, meaning there was no crime committed."