KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Education Department is looking at ways to reduce and ultimately prevent crime and social ills among students.
Sabah Education Department director Mistirine Radin said various programmes and efforts were being made to address these issues.
“For us in the department, our roles are confined to what students do and how they behave within the school compounds,” she said.
According to her, in many cases, incidents such as fights and even robberies that involved teenagers occured outside school grounds and after class.
“That is why we are increasing engagement programmes with the authorities, such as the police and the anti-drug agency,” Mistirine said.
She said they were also trying to get all parents to be more involved in their children’s lives and to make them understand the importance of their roles in a child’s development.
“For students with disciplinary problems, we have counselling sessions with them and their parents,” she said, adding that regular visits to these students’ homes would also be in the programme.
Mistrine said starting this year, they had enforced several of these initiatives.
A disciplinary teacher who did not want to be named said the main reasons for children acting out and committing crimes were lack of parental supervision and the need to seem "cool".
“They have so much access to the Internet where they can get all sorts of negative information,” said the teacher.
He said parents’ lack of attention and guidance at home contributed to the problem.
Recently, five teenagers from a school in the city were nabbed for robbing a 24-hour convenience store at the Towering commercial centre in Penampang near here.
Four of them have been released on police bail pending instructions from the deputy public prosecutor, while the last suspect, a 16-year-old dropout, was nabbed during the weekend after his father brought him to the police station.
Penampang police chief Deputy Supt Mohd Haris Ibrahim said for their part, they would try to increase engagement programmes with schools in Penampang, although the robbery did not involve students from there.
“We have an officer who meets with school principals and problematic students twice a month,” he said.
“However, we might modify our approach to make our presence and message on crime and social ills more efficient,” he said.