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Say no to school bullying

  • Bullyism that we often think is just frolicking among youngsters could develop into something that may traumatize and divide our society if not contained.

Sin Chew Daily

News of a high school student from Penang suffering brain death after being beaten by his schoolmates shocked the whole nation. And before the case was settled, another incident of bullying was reported at a Melaka rehabilitation school. Coupled with a few other instances of bullying in recent weeks, it saddens us that our campus environment has become increasingly complicated and violent.

Judging from a spate of beatings and violent abuses, we can feel that tolerance and understanding are severely lacking in our society.

Acts of bullying must never be treated lightly. As the UNICEF Malaysia representative has said, bullying could be fatal. The incident in Penang, for example, has gone way beyond bullying among students and the perpetrators can be charged for intentional manslaughter. The police are now probing the case, but the suspects only admitted to beating the victim, not putting any blunt object into his anus.

Penang state education department said it would not intervene as the case was being handled by the police. That said, due to the increasingly severe trend of campus bullying in the country, it is utterly important for the education ministry and state education departments to take appropriate measures instead of solely relying on the police.

The authorities must draw up effective solutions to prevent bullying at schools. Unfortunately the government's passive attitude will only give the victims the impression that their feelings and trauma have been overlooked.

Education authorities, police, schools and parents have the common obligation of fighting campus bullying. We must have the attitude of "zero tolerance" towards it.

Criminal investigation and battling school gangsterism are the duties of the police, while the education authorities must seek effective solutions to prevent bullying. Meanwhile, parents and school authorities must closely monitor the students' activities.

Student's social media activities have also become a subject of concern in our Internet age. With the boundary between the real and virtual worlds becoming increasingly amorphous, online verbal bullyism and physical assaults in real life have proven to be less and less bearable for our youngsters. As such, the scope of anti-bullying campaign must be extended to the cyberspace as well.

To effectively prevent school bullying, we cannot just provide guidance and rectification on a case-to-case basis; battling bullyism must be incorporated into the day-to-day activities at schools.

In some of the "high risk" areas, in particular, regular supervision and monitoring must be instituted so as to prevent the tragedy from recurring. We must instill in our students the values of acceptance, accommodativeness and respect, and this can be included in weekly assemblies, in the classrooms as well as extracurricular activities.

It is not sufficient to just show our sympathy and grief for what the victims have gone through. If we don't want to see another Nhaveen and Previin, we must be resolved not to ignore incidents of school bullying.

Bullyism that we often think is just frolicking among youngsters could develop into something that may traumatize and divide our society if not contained.


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