THE Children's Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is concerned by recent reports of the poor conduct of some teachers, tainting the image of this noble profession.
These include teachers sexually harassing a student activist on social media by using foul language and body-shaming her, and the toxic culture of teachers covering up for one another when a complaint arises.
A few weeks earlier, the occurrence of “period spot checks” came to light, causing parents and public alike much distress and disbelief.
Teachers play an important role in realising the vision of the Education Act 1996 that aims to “develop the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God”.
The Children's Commissioner urges the Education Minister to take action against teachers who sexually harass female students using foul language and sexual undertones.
Action should also be taken against teachers who harass students who are brave enough to stand up for their rights.
Teachers are role models and must realise that their actions, or inaction, would impact the lives of their students for many years. Teachers must respect children’s rights and treat them with dignity at all times.
The Children’s Commissioner reminds and insists that schools must be made safe places for children, and more measures should be instituted so that children will enjoy their time learning, gaining useful and wholesome education that will last a lifetime.
The Children's Commissioner reiterates that the function of schools, the training of teachers and the education system should be reviewed so that the vision of the Education Act, as well the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, will be achieved.
Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Hj Mohd Awal
Children's Commissioner, Suhakam