“When I read Neil Bantleman had been accused of sexually assaulting a child at the prestigious Jakarta International School I was shocked and simply heartbroken for both Neil and Tracy. Neil is one of the most gentle and caring people I’ve ever met, as well as a talented and passionate educator. Like everyone else who knows Neil Bantleman, I know with absolute personal and professional conviction that these accusations are false. Neil is facing every teacher’s worst nightmare, in a foreign country.
Neil is being detained in a Jakarta prison along with an Indonesian teaching assistant, Ferdinant Tjiong. They have been held in prison for 10 days now without being charged, held on what appears to be very little and highly questionable evidence. They face being detained without charge for many more weeks.
The media coverage of the accusations and investigation reveal the strange series of events that led to these two men being named suspects and the wild absurdity of the whole situation. The American, British and Australian embassies expressed concern about Neil and Ferdi’s detainment. Thousands of supporters have already joined the embassies in voicing their own concerns through an online petition, a letter-writing campaign, media interviews and by joining the Facebook Group.
I urge my fellow international educators to follow the media coverage and to offer support for our colleagues. Please contact your government representatives to request that Neil and Ferdi are released from prison and granted a fair and transparent investigation. Sign the petition at change.org and join the Facebook Group to Free Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong!
Passionate and talented educators who are willing to work within different cultures are hard to come by, let alone male teachers who fit this description. Not only will the international education community lose some very talented teachers because of this experience, I fear that others will be deterred from pursuing such an important career. Please help in any way you can.”
(Name withheld by request)