So a special needs child has been bullied at Assumption Pathway School and a video of the episode has gone viral. In it, the girl, who is wrapped in a black plastic trash bag, is surrounded by a group of girls in uniform, one of whom brandishes a toilet brush and uses it to scrub her head and waist. The others then place a toilet seat around her neck and close the cover on her head repeatedly. The girl with the toilet brush finally scrubs the victim’s face.
Case of bullying at Assumption Pathway School. The girl with the toilet brush, her instagram username: babyiraa_ (already taken down). If you have information on those involved, let us know. pic.twitter.com/it14HuuqXS
— SMRT Feedback (@smrtsg) 12 April 2018
The victim, who doesn’t look like she is having fun, appears very upset at this point, and the rest of the girls push her towards the girl with the brush, who appears to reprimand her, hitting the wall with the toilet brush as she does so.
Apparently, toilet-brush girl posted the 29-second video on her Instagram account, which has since been taken down.
A police report has been made by the parents of the victim.
The video is not a pretty sight. The victim looks helpless and distraught while the rest of the girls laugh at her predicament.
The episode came to light when Facebook group SMRT Feedback by The Vigilanteh shared the video and asked its more than 430,000 followers to identify the girl with the toilet brush.
When that was achieved, they asked that the girl “identify the rest of the perpetrators involved with you in this sickening video”.
“We know who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you….alamak digressed to Backstreet boys,” continued the post, in an attempt to be funny. It ended with a declaration that “this was a case of bullying against a special needs student”.
Kudos to SMRT Feedback by The Vigilanteh for bringing the bullying incident to light.
Yes, the actions of the bullies were deplorable, especially when the victim is a helpless, special needs child.
But was there a need to identify and shame the perpetrator publicly?
We feel she should be punished, but would it not have been better to leave that to the school authorities or her parents?
Toilet brush girl has since made something of an apology on an Instagram story and also on her Facebook timeline in which she says she is OK with the victim, admitting she had been “too harsh”.
Assumption Pathway School is for students who struggle academically. It offers a vocational education, and children with special needs are among its students.
While we sympathise with the victim of the video and decry the actions of her bullies, we should consider that perhaps the bullies may have special needs themselves. With that in mind, how culpable are they for their actions? How much responsibility should they be made to bear?
And are we too quick to judge? Could it have been a game before it went wrong when someone got carried away?
We don’t know.
And so I would wait to find out more before unleashing an online lynch mob on the bullies, who are themselves still only children.