PETALING JAYA: Teachers in Malaysia want a stop to the physical and cyberbullying by students and their parents, which they felt have become a frequent problem.
They said students should not be allowed to bring helmets, or other items that could be used as a “weapon”, to school.
Also, they urged school heads to take steps to remove abusive or defamatory comments online, failing which a report must be lodged with the authorities. And action must be taken against parents who run down teachers on social media.
These are among the steps outlined in a code of ethics drawn up by the 200,000-strong National Union of the Teaching Profession on parent-teacher relations.
The NUTP cited cases of teachers being called stupid for giving too much homework, had their authority questioned for giving demerit points to latecomers, and subjected to hurtful name calling such as being labelled a certain animal or told to eat faeces.
And the “Cikgu Azizan case” had also distressed many teachers although Azizan Manap, who was accused of slapping a naughty pupil, was eventually given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by a magistrate in Seremban last month.
NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan spoke of cases in which teachers were intimidated and even physically hurt during meet-the-parents sessions on troubled students.
He said the draft of the code has been completed and would be presented to the Education Ministry for its endorsement.
“The use of social media and the Internet to abuse and shame teachers must stop. Complaining, scolding or threatening educators, whether physically or in the virtual world, benefits no one yet it has become so rampant,” he told Sunday Star.
The NUTP will be holding a meeting with stakeholders and interested parties on Tuesday to discuss the code which it wants parents to adhere to when dealing with teachers.
Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid had recently announced that a meeting with the NUTP would be held this month on the code.
Tan said the NUTP proposed the code in 2016 but only drafted it about two months ago after consulting fellow members and teachers from other countries.
He acknowledged that the code was not legally-binding but was a move to ensure that the dignity of teachers is protected.
“The code serves as a notice to all parents that the schools should be a safe place for everyone.”
And if parents themselves become abusive, reports should be made against them, he said.
Under the code, parents or guardians must:
> Refer to the school head if they have issues with a teacher. They should cooperate with teachers especially in dealing with disciplinary issues.
> Control their emotions and refrain from accusing teachers when discussing matters involving the student.
“Raising your voice, using vulgar or rude language, condemning teachers, is not allowed under the code,” Tan said.
Tan said that the teaching profession should not tolerate any form of interference by parents or guardians.
If a parent or guardian is unhappy over something, they must go through the proper channels.
“Speak to the class teacher, school head and PTA so that the matter can be settled fairly and amicably. That’s the Malaysian way – not fighting and going to court.”
As public servants, he said teachers cannot take the parents to court. They can only report the matter to the authorities.