SEBERANG JAYA: A. Lalitha was inconsolable. She has just lost her 13-year-old niece, M. Vasanthapiriya, who died without regaining consciousness after slipping into a coma following a suicide attempt.
Lalitha said while the teacher might have found her phone, the family had lost a child.
The 43-year-old was speaking at the Seberang Jaya Hospital’s mortuary.
Devastated by Vasanthapiriya’s death, Lalitha said it seemed that no action was taken against the teacher.
The Form Two student, who had attempted suicide after being accused of stealing her teacher’s iPhone last week, died at 3.30am yesterday with her parents by her side. Vasanthapiriya had been hospitalised for just over a week but died without regaining consciousness.
It is understood that Vasanthapiriya had attempted to take her own life last Wednesday after she was accused of stealing her teacher’s iPhone, a claim which she had vehemently denied.
Lalitha said Vasanthapiriya was a sensitive girl, adding that this could have led to her taking her own life after she was accused by the teacher.
Lalitha said Vasanthapiriya would usually share everything with her. However, on that day, she did not get the chance to speak to her niece nor to console her.
“Vasanthapiriya was ashamed and angry. She could not control her feelings. Maybe that is why she decided to end her life.
“The teacher should not have acted in such a way. Accusing a child, even hitting her. It is a smartphone. The teacher should have used the device’s GPS (global positioning system) to track and locate the phone.
“Now, she has already found her phone, but what about the child? Phones can be bought anytime, but a human life? Once a person dies, she can never be brought back to life.”
Lalitha said if all teachers were to act in such a manner, schools would be no place for children.
“Teachers should educate, not threaten. If such a thing were to happen, they (teachers) should talk to us (parents) so that this can be solved amicably.
“Now, a child has died just over a phone,” Lalitha said.
Police are investigating the student’s death as suicide under Section 309 of the Penal Code.
Seberang Prai Selatan district police chief Superintendent Shafee Abd Samad said police had forwarded their investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor (DPP).
“We are awaiting instruction from the DPP before proceeding.
“As for the investigation into the teacher concerned, we have also referred the matter to the DPP,” he added.
Meanwhile, the state Education Department had concluded its investigation.
Its deputy director, Mohd Jamil Mohamed, told the New Straits Times that the department would submit the full report to the Education Ministry for further advice on the next course of action.
“We extend our condolences to the victim’s family members. We want to assure them that a fair investigation has been done and concluded recently.
“In the report, we have included comments and suggestions to the ministry. We will wait for its response on our report,” he said yesterday.
Jamil, however, did not reveal if the incident was connected to the non-compliance of the teacher while handling the incident of the missing phone.
Speaking further on the matter, Jamil said the teacher was no longer teaching at the school and had been transferred to the district education office.
Meanwhile, Deputy Education Minister II Datuk Chong Sin Woon told NST that the ministry would comment on the matter once it received the investigation report from the state Education Department.
“We are also awaiting the report from the police. I cannot comment further until then,” Chong said.