KUALA LUMPUR: The #StandTogether campaign by The Star and property developer SP Setia is a good example of a successful private-public partnership, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.
“We have been supporting and working hand-in-hand with other ministries and private companies to promote anti-bullying campaigns.
It will be an on-going effort for all stakeholders coming and working together to ensure the success and sustainability of it," said Kamalanathan.
He said this at the Bully Zero Symposium 2018 organised by conference organiser MeLearn Global, was held at Royal Chulan Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (April 12).
One speaker was Bully Police USA co-director Kevin Epling, who spoke about empowering all members of society into taking responsibility for incidents of bullying.
“The biggest piece of the puzzle are our students. They are the first line of defense, but we have to let them know that we are listening to them.”
He commended the #StandTogether campaign for its competition which awarded RM30,000 worth of grants to 30 student-led initiatives to make schools a kinder place.
“I think you’re hitting the right demographic here,” he said. That you’re getting the students engaged and empowering them is a great thing because if you can do that, you can get them to do their part to solve the problem," said Epling.
His son, Matt, was a student who killed himself in 2002 after being bullied and is the namesake for Matt's Safe School Law which was signed into Michigan law in 2011, and requires schools to have a policy on bullying.
Also present at the symposium were over 100 teachers and school counsellors, exhibitors, delegates from the Education Ministry and SP Setia, who co-sponsored event.
“Bringing in teachers was important for us to do, because they’re the ones who will be returning to their classrooms and engaging with their students,” said SP Setia Chairman Datuk Seri Dr Wan Zahid.
“We hope that by participating in campaigns like #StandTogether and attending symposiums such as these, they will be better equipped with knowledge on how to tackle the issues of bullying at school.”
Kindness is a value Wan Zahid, a former Education Ministry director-general, hopes to bring back to Malaysian schools.
“I was really emotionally affected by the extent of bullying and fatal cases last year, and knew we had to do something about it,” said MeLearn Global executive director Shahrin Sodhi Abdullah.
“I hope that everyone present at today’s symposium is inspired to take action and understands that we can no longer ignore or excuse bullying.”
The National Kindness Week campaign will culminate in a #StandTogether Carnival on April 15 at Setia City Convention Centre.
The #StandTogether Carnival is a celebration to cap off Malaysia’s first ever National Kindness Week, where there will be fun activities, a blind football demonstration, food, self-defense workshops, celebrity appearances, and live performances.