Jakarta High School Beating Throws Spotlight on Bullies

By webadmin on 08:30 am Nov 07, 2009
Category Archive

As Ade Fauzan lay on his bed on Friday, the three-centimeter gash on his lip and bruising around his left eye were apparent.

Ade,
a student at State Senior High School (SMAN) 82 in South Jakarta, was
the victim of an alleged beating by 30 older students at the school on
Tuesday morning.

The reason for the violent incident? He had
walked down a “forbidden” corridor, nicknamed the “Gaza Strip.”
According to unofficial school tradition, only senior students may use
the corridor.

“I had to pass [through the corridor],” Ade said, “because I left a book there during my last exam.”

Endang
Supardi, the vice principal of SMAN 82, said the school was now
investigating three students who could be expelled over the incident.

“We have had several bullying cases at the school. But this is by far the worst,” she said.

Ade
is still recovering at Pertamina Central Hospital in Kebayoran Baru,
South Jakarta, and is still unable to walk steadily after four days of
treatment. He said he still had a bad headache and felt disoriented.

Endang,
however, said she wished that Ade’s parents had not gone to the police
to report the matter. “It’s possible that it’s just a
misunderstanding,” she said. “We acknowledge seniority at our school
and first-year students should respect that.”

Seto Mulyadi,
chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak),
said the government had to pay serious attention to school bullying.

“We
received 24 cases of violence at schools last semester,” he said. “It
has reached a very disturbing level and the Education Ministry and
agencies should pay more attention to this because it might blow up.”

Seto
blamed poor supervision at schools and the high level of pressure put
on students for the spike in bullying. “Schools put too much pressure
on students for their own prestige, when in fact, studying should be
for the benefit of children,” he said.

In Ade’s case, Seto said the principal was ultimately responsible because the assault happened on school grounds.

“It should be properly investigated because what they did was a crime,” he said.

Sophia
Louretta, a spokeswoman from the Sejiwa nonprofit foundation that works
to integrate morals and good behavior at schools, said her organization
was concerned about the latest incident. “We are going to investigate
and work out a follow-up action to take,” she said.

The
foundation, she said, had conducted several workshops and seminars on
anti-bullying at schools, and SMAN 82 was part of its anti-bullying
pilot program, which concluded in May 2008.

A former SMAN 82
student, Armijn, 28, said that while bullying had occurred during his
time at the school, it had never gone as far as in Ade’s case.

“Beatings were usually carried out by three to four people. Thirty is just too much,” he said.