Ministry Must Put a Stop to School Bullies
In yet another incident of bullying in our schools, a high school student was beaten until he was unconscious by older students. Their reason? He was walking down a corridor unofficially reserved for seniors.
The student was hospitalized for four days and suffered internal injuries and head wounds. Tragically, he may suffer long-term problems as a result of the beating.
This is not the first time that such an incident has occurred in our schools. How many more students must suffer before the Ministry of Education finally puts a stop to such activities? Who is ultimately responsible for such behavior?
At the very least, the students involved must be suspended, if not expelled, from school. Their parents must be informed of their behavior and told in no uncertain terms that their children will not be admitted to any government-run school.
And that is just the first step.
The principal of the school must also be held responsible for allowing such behavior to take place. He or she must be reprimanded, or even suspended, to reinforce the message that bullying is not acceptable, no matter the circumstances.
For bullying to be eradicated, all schools must adopt a zero-tolerance attitude toward this insidious activity.
Bullying is not new, nor is it unique to Indonesia.
Lengthy studies have been done on its causes. Bullying is defined as the tendency for some children to frequently oppress, harass or intimidate other children verbally, physically or both.
Most bullying occurs in and around schools and involves the bullies having a sense of power over those they pick on.
But what turns children into bullies? Research has shown that most children who turn into bullies learn the behavior from adults who are close to them, come from broken homes or receive very little supervision at home.
Most bullies want to be respected by their peers and their behavior is initiated to create status for themselves.
School bullies who are not disciplined and counseled often go on to repeat such behavior in adulthood. A high percentage of them run afoul of the law at some stage in their lives.
Nipping such behavior in the bud is therefore critical and must be done through a combination of imparting the right values in schools as well as in homes.
Every child has the right to feel safe at home, in school and in the community.
Bullying should not be a normal part of growing up. It is high time for the Ministry of Education to take a tough stance on the issue and deal with it directly instead of just wishing that the problem would go away.