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Bullying in schools: Holistic solutions needed, not knee-jerk reaction

Publish date: Thu, 16 Dec 2021, 06:28 PM

WITH cases of bullying in schools getting reported in the media, an academic urged the Government to find out the root cause of the problem and provide comprehensive solutions to address the matter.  

“The problem with our society and political system is that we don’t like to admit faults or weaknesses. The first thing that must done if we want to address any issues is to acknowledge there is problem. 

“But we are not used to admitting to any forms of weaknesses and when something bad happens, we give knee-jerk reaction, provide temporary remedial measures and forget about the whole thing,” said HELP University Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting and Institute Crime and Criminology senior lecturer R Paneir Selvam told FocusM.

Last week, the police arrested 10 students – nine 13-year-olds and a 15-year-old – over a bullying case at the Sultan Azlan Shah Mara Junior Science College (MRSM), where footage of the boy getting beaten up went viral on social media.  


Since then, the boarding school had expelled 10 of the students involved in the case.  


Yesterday, two 16-year-old students from a secondary school in Muar, Johor were arrested by the police after they were alleged to have beaten up a junior student until he sustained injuries on his left rib cage.  

Touching on the matter, Paneir Selvam said that the authorities and Education Ministry (MOE) should find out what is causing rampant bullying cases in schools and nip the issue in the bud.  

“Did anyone do psychological evaluation on the bullies? Can we find out whether they come from broken families or there is something wrong in their homes?” he queried.  

Paneir Selvam also found it odd that despite the MOE and many other non-governmental organisations (NGO) carrying out various campaigns on the ills of bullying, such cases do not seem to abate.  

“Is it something deeply-rooted in the bullies’ psyche? For example, maybe they were bullied by their seniors in the past and they are now taking it out on their juniors. 

“This is what we should be figuring out rather than acting only after something bad had happened,” he mentioned.   

Principals and PTDs

 With that said, the academic urged the district education departments (PTD) to monitor school headmasters and principals to ensure they address such cases in their schools firmly, as some may have the tendency to ignore such problems due to various reasons.  

He added that in turn, the state education departments should monitor the PTD’s to ensure the latter is doing their job right.  

“Principals and headmasters must take responsibility too, instead of pointing fingers at the students, teachers or their parents to address the problem.  

“And every school have their counselors but still such cases happen. We must find out where we went wrong and see if the current mechanisms are failing our students,” Paneir Selvam added.  

He remarked: “With bullying cases rising, I urge all our politicians and NGOs who are trying to get vernacular schools abolished to address this pressing issue instead.  

“Right now, unfortunately, only a few leaders have spoken out against this.” Dec 16, 2021.

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