Fatal bullying rampant despite laws

Cases of fatal bullying continue to haunt schools here despite a regulation issued by the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry last year aimed at preventing violence at educational institutions. A 15-year-old student at Islamic junior high school Madrasah Tsanawiyah in Situbondo regency, East Java, died recently after he was beaten by nine other students.

The assault left the victim in a coma. He was hospitalised for a week before passing away last Sunday.

Just a few days prior, Aldelia Rahma, a 10-year-old elementary student from Padang Pariaman Regency in West Sumatra, died after her classmate set her on fire a few months ago.

Aldelia and her classmates were ordered by teachers to clean up their classroom and to burn trash they collected in the school’s backyard.

She was standing next to the burning trash pile when a male student, identified only as R, suddenly doused her with gasoline, and she immediately caught fire.

The girl suffered burn wounds on 35% of her body and underwent four different surgeries before eventually succumbing to her injuries last Friday.

According to the victim’s family, the perpetrator had bullied Aldelia for some time before the fire incident took place, including by kicking and punching her face as well as hitting her head.

However, when Aldelia reported the bullying to a teacher, she was blamed instead for “playing with male students”.

According to a 2018 survey by International Students Assess-ment, 41% of Indonesian students reported being victims of bullying at least a few times a month.

The figure is almost twice as much as the average bullying rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries, which stands at 23%.

Amid the rising trend of violence in schools, the government issued in August an anti-bullying regulation, which among its provisions mandated all education units to form violence prevention and handling teams to protect students.

However, education expert Anggi Afriansyah of the National Research and Innovation Agency said that the implementation of the ministerial regulation remains lacklustre. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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