‘Inform public of steps taken to curb violence’

PETALING JAYA: Parents want more transparency in the way bullying cases are handled.

They are urging the Education Ministry to make public its reporting system on cases involving bullying and to provide measures that would eradicate such behaviour in schools.

Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the ministry’s reporting system should be in the form of an actual hotline number or via an online platform; both must be published widely.

“This direct reporting system is a good move. But the success of this system will only be as good as its outcome.

“The public should be informed of the action and steps that will be taken to curb repeats of such acts.

“If a complaint is recorded but no action is taken on the bully, then the initiative has failed,” Noor Azimah said, adding that while the system provides an alternative, she urged parents to also report the matter to the police, depending on the severity of the case.

She also said the ministry should not hesitate to enforce an exit policy if the bully is a teacher, instead of transferring the culprit to another school.

“Doing this may cause past records to get lost in transit or even forgotten altogether,” she added.

Yesterday, Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin told the Dewan Rakyat that the ministry was in the midst of developing a reporting system to allow school members, including students and their parents, to make complaints directly to the Education Ministry.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said the system might not allay parents’ fears and concerns as it does not solve the root of the problem.

Mak said parents want to know what measures would be taken instead to eliminate such behaviour.

“Can we look into ways to educate the students or upskill the teachers, wardens and management to stamp out such acts?

“Or maybe, employ full-time wardens who can move around the hostels regularly?” he said.

National Union of Teaching Profession secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said having a medium to report directly to the ministry was a good move.

“But an effective way to curb bullying is by giving teachers more power,” he said.

Currently, Wang said only a principal or headmaster has the power to cane bullies and in most cases, they would instruct either the disciplinary teacher or any other teacher to carry out the caning.

“We must be given more authority to effectively carry out our functions in schools.

“Teachers cannot even scold students to discipline them,” he said, adding that the official circular enforcing these guidelines should be reviewed by the ministry.

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