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Punishing bullies not the answer to end problem, say experts


KUALA LUMPUR: To end the culture of bullying in our schools, we should also make the effort to get help for bullies, said children’s advocates and NGOs at the #StandTogether campaign launch.

“Bullies bully for a reason so punishing them is not the answer,” said Datin Nor Azima Abdul Rahim, chairman of Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia.

“We should find the soft, psychological reason as to why they bully and develop a tailored approach to address the problem.

“It can start at home when parents don’t nurture them and allow them to grow without guidance. Parents, don’t just buy them things but show them love, because that goes a long way.”

Teach For Malaysia managing director and co-founder Dzameer Dzukifli stressed the importance of emotional and mental health as part of a child’s education.

“We should teach children to understand themselves, as many bullies are struggling to deal with something and they project their assumptions to the world.

“Start a dialogue, ask them how they’re doing and tell them there is a place for them to shine,” he suggested.

MySkills Foundation CEO Devasharma Gangadaran suggested giving bullies more responsibility and leadership coaching, including making them school prefects.

“Most bullies are outspoken so schools can tap that and empower them to use their skills,” he said.

“Go for value-based training, teach love and empathy, and campaign to end verbal and physical abuse.”

The NGOs lent their support at the launch of R.AGE’s #StandTogether campaign yesterday and lauded the campaign’s call for an annual bullying prevention week.

Some of them will also be working with R.AGE to develop a five-day ­bullying prevention programme for volunteers, be it students, parents, teac­hers or former students, to ­organise in schools.

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