TWO of the runaway students who were absent from school for nearly a month were down with chicken pox, according to their father.
Lorry driver Beh Chin Hooi claimed his daughters, Chuan Yuan, 16, and Ee Xuan, 14, did not attend classes for 31 days and 21 days respectively as they were suffering from chicken pox.
He said he had sent their medical certificates to the school after receiving letters from the school authorities over their absenteeism.
“As far as I am concerned, my daughters did not play truant as they were granted medical leave,” he said yesterday.
On Wednesday, the four students who were earlier reported missing by their families after allegedly playing truant had travelled to Kuala Lumpur in an express bus and checked into a budget hotel there.
The sisters, together with their friends Ong Shi Nee and Soon Shi Xian, both 15, claimed they had gone for a sight-seeing trip to the city.
The girls contacted their parents at midnight after reading about their case in the evening edition of a Chinese daily.
Their parents drove to Kuala Lumpur immediately and brought them to the district police headquarters where they were questioned before being released into their parents custody.
All the four students returned to school yesterday while their parents attended a meeting with the police, school principal and the teachers at the school.
Principal Faridah Abdullah said the meeting ended amicably and the matter was considered closed.
A south Seberang Prai education department spokesman said the school had followed procedures by sending letters to the parents informing them of their daughters’ absence.
South Seberang Prai OCPD Supt Shafien Mamat said the meeting was attended by four policemen, the girls’ parents and the principal.
“As far as police are concerned, the case is closed,” he added.
Penang National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Ng Weng Tutt said according to procedures, the school would send a warning letter to the parents if a student was absent for three days.
He said a second letter would be sent after 10 days and the final warning after 17 days where the student faced expulsion.
The school’s Parents and Teachers Association (PIBG) chairman Tan Ching Liang, who is away, said he would comment on the matter after meeting the affected parents, teachers and the principal upon his return.