JIS Teacher Neil Bantleman Freed from Prison

In Indonesia, Neil Bantleman and teaching assistant, Ferdinand Tjiong, have thankfully been freed after serving one year of a 10-year prison sentence. From the beginning, it was widely held that the men were indicted on slanderous charges fabricated by a mother who claimed the men had molested her son. The decision to free Neil and Ferdinand follows the court’s rejection of the mother’s $124-million lawsuit against Jakarta International School in conjunction with the alleged incident.

Throughout their ordeal Bantleman and Tjiong maintained their innocence and were supported by family, colleagues, parents, students and the JIS Principal. Their release marks the long awaited end to an agonizing ordeal. The prosecution will contest the judgment, but the consensus is they do not have a viable case. Read full story

It has been said that this case calls into question the integrity of the Indonesian legal system. Why can an influential parent with an agenda thoroughly manipulate a country’s judicial system and severely impact the lives of innocent people? Although the prosecution lacked concrete evidence, they did succeed in getting a judgment against the men.

We celebrate the release of Neil Bantleman and Ferdinand Tjiong. Justice has finally been served. In light of this incident and the growing dislike of Westerners in some locales around the world, ISR asks: Would the chance you could end up as a pawn in an influential person’s agenda deter you from accepting a position in certain locations?

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13 thoughts on “JIS Teacher Neil Bantleman Freed from Prison

  1. I’ve seen teachers fitted up in U.K. schools from false accusations and the whim of a parent. I know 2 who went to prison only later to be proved innocent, one at the court of appeal after serving a year. Happens everywhere.


  2. Thank you ISR for sharing this news with us. This is absolutely great news and I am so happy and relieved that Neil and Ferdinand have received justice although it may have been quite an ordeal. I am always very happy to see foreign teachers, released and set free. I have never considered Indonesia a location to teach because I have been aware of the corruption in this country and the tactics used to extort money from foreigners. I will not consider it a place to teach in the future. I think that Indonesia does not deserve to have professionally qualified foreign teachers in their schools. I will not be recommending this nation as a destination to teachers in my network and to other ‘wanna-be’ teacher travelers. Indonesia for me is far too dangerous and risky.


  3. I worked for 13 years in Jakarta and would still be there if I wasn’t over the age limit – no complaints there about the rule. If a 14 year old boy, driving his present of a high speed car, kills 7 people because he lost control of the car, can be unavailable to the police because his father is a celebrity, this has nothing to do with religion. It is all to do with the corruption with permeates Indonesian society especially the judicial system, The case with JIS was just another example. My hope is that one day Indonesia will be able to rise above this but I have strong doubts about this ever being a reality.


  4. I was a former employee of JIS for a number of years and have been following the news, having a great sense of belonging, solidarity, etc. Deep in my heart I believed that the accusation was baseless and that both Neil and Ferdy were innocent. I am very grateful that God has shown justice and the truth is revealed. I am wondering though, for the sake of JUSTICE, can we put that heartless mother to jail instead? She has made a false accusation that ruined the life of many, wasting our energy and money. Can we have JIS’s name returned as it used to be…


  5. I experienced an incident in Thailand where a student had been intimidated by his class room teacher after he left my specialist class. The child spoke no English. His teacher, a friend of the director, claimed I had shouted at him in class and all his sobbing and carrying on was my doing. The director came to see me. He immediately said if the boy’s parents come to school I would be the one to take the fall. No discussion. Well, the child told his parents that his classroom teacher was to blame. The director told me I was lucky. I left at the end of the year. You can find yourself defenseless and at the whim of people with an agenda when you least expect it. I’m glad I spent 15 years overseas in various schools. Would I go again knowing what I know now? That’s debatable.


  6. Good to see justice finally prevail. The incident wouldn’t discourage me from taking a job overseas simply because of the fact that injustices are just as rife in the western world. Injustice by the hands of some so called muslim or injustice by the hands of some so called christian or secularist should not make a difference.


    1. It’s not about religion its about culture.
      Please look at where these events are happening and there you will find the common denominator


  7. Despite the norm of lying, cheating and stealing and children going to bathroom anywhere in public, China is safe. One reason is their “justice system” is swift and severe. But a lot of information is blocked so the world does not know about it. Thank God – been there and done that. Thank you ISR.


  8. I taught in Indonesia for 8 years. I am so relieved these teachers have finally been released. I remain concerned about what effect all the publicity and a year in an Indonesian jail may have had on them. Indonesian people are amongst the friendliest in the world but I realize their governmental bodies are very corrupt and teachers interested in going here must weigh up the pros and cons carefully.


  9. All teachers should be literate – they should be able to read the news. They ought to be aware that there is a surge of anti-western feeling in certain countries around the world. There are countries, some which profess to be governed by deep religious beliefs that should dictate their lives, that are much worse than others when it comes to corruption and xenophobia. This is a very sad state of affairs but it is also a reality. As teachers, we should not be fooled into going to these countries on the pretext that “the children need us”. If you are foolish enough to go to such a place, you will, generally speaking, be employed in a for-profit school. The only people who ‘need’ you, are the school owners. For the most part, they are as much concerned with your ability to look ‘foreign’ as they are with your ability to teach. I deplore what has happened to Neil Bantleman and Ferdinand Tjiong, but I can pretty well guarantee that they will not be the last teachers who fall into the same sort of trap. If you do not want to be the next victim, then don’t go to the countries which are rife with intolerance and corruption.


  10. Do research before you go on the school.Know that in any Islamic Country/system or culture you are at the mercy of any parent or student that lays an accusation against you.A high percentage of teachers are successful and have no issues.However once you have watched the unfolding of such an event in your workplace, then you will understand.Accusations that do not have to be substantiated will land you in jail.One can go from losing their jobs to jail in about 3-4 days after an accusation.The process that follows is nothing that a western trained teacher or a teacher from a non islamic background would fathom.


  11. yes, I would research the area before i go there, currently teaching in China and besides the regular Lying and cheating accepted by the population it seems safe here. certainly don’t see myself going to indonesia:)
    glad they got out of prison, will they stay in indonesia ?


  12. I’m done!
    I choose to teach in countries of high need, making very little money. At 65, I believe I’ve done enough. My advice is be careful where you go & especially what school you choose. Despite some rather questional admministrators, I’m glad I did it.


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