PETALING JAYA: An educator who has taught in one of the most notorious schools in Penang related how his own experience of using genuine concern worked to turn around “hopeless students”.
Kamarozaman Abdul Razak used to teach in a secondary school where the pupils of different races fought with each other and one of them was even allegedly involved in murder.
“Confrontation doesn’t work. They don’t listen if you raise your voice with them. These kids are used to being scolded.
“I sat down with them, invited them to tell me their stories like a friend. It took one to two months to gain their trust but they slowly changed and became good kids.
“Some of them cried and asked the principal not to let me go during my farewell,” the National Union of Teaching Profession president related when asked to comment on ways to stop bullying among youths.
Kamarozaman said he was saddened by the latest bullying incident in Penang and urged parents to take teachers’ complaint about their children misbehaving seriously.
“Some of the youths can be very cunning, they may behave well in front of their parents but misbehave when they are in school or with their friends,” he said.
He said adults need to be sharp and use psychological and counselling methods to discipline misbehaving teenagers.
He said parents should meet the school relation officer at the police station if they need help to deal with bullying in school.
He also suggested government ministries to work with the police and community groups to organise youth activities in neighbourhoods known to be “hot spots” for bullying or gangsterism.
Child rights advocacy group Voice of the Children director Sharmila Sekaran said the Government must show that it has zero-tolerance towards bullying.
“This is not the first case and it will not be the last unless we come together to make it so,” said Sharmila, referring to the case of 21-year-old Malaysian National Defence University student Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain who was tortured to death over a laptop dispute in May.
She said there might be other bully victims who were suffering in silence.
“If we adults had the situation under control, these abuses and death need not have happened,” she said.