A number of parents are upset in Malaysia after pictures were posted of schoolchildren seemingly eating lunch in the bathroom, MSN Malaysia reports. The children were allegedly forced to eat in the unhygienic location during recess so as to not offend their fasting classmates during Ramadan.
A woman named Guneswari Kelly posted the photographs on Facebook, and they went viral soon after.
"As a mother, Guneswari is deeply concerned not only for her child but also the other children as the bathroom is located right next to the toilet area with a strong stench," the MSN article's author May Ng explains. "She added that when they questioned the school authorities, the children were sent to other bathrooms, changing or shower rooms or stores of the school compound. Despite raising her concerns to the school, no actions have been taken seriously."
As the issue has grown larger in the news, national authorities have stepped in.
“I have already informed the Ministry at 11am this morning and action will be taken against the person who came out with the decision," the country's deputy education minister P Kamalanathan said in a statement. "This should be a lesson for all in the future.”
He also tweeted about the issue, writing: "SK Seri Prestina; it is not d right thing 2 do; d school could have appointed a temp canteen operator to run the operations during Ramadhan."
But as he's become more involved, Kamalanathan says he was told the reason the students were forced to eat in the bathroom was not because of Ramadan, but because the school was performing repairs in the lunch room.
He concluded: "As far as we are concerned, the issue is resolved. The headmaster had good intentions but chose a poor location. He has apologised. I too apologise. It won't happen again."
(H/T: Jihad Watch)