Following the recent cases of reported bullying in schools, including a Form 2 student who was hospitalised after he was beaten up by Form 3 students in a Sungai Petani school, the Education Ministry is now mulling over punishment for school bullies.
Of late, videos of school bullying incidents in Malaysia have emerged on social media, becoming an instant hit amongst netizens for all the wrong reasons. The viral clips usually garner heated discussions over what can be done to prevent bullying at schools and protect the well-being of students but unfortunately, little has been implemented.
Until now, that is.
According to Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, suspension is being proposed for primary and secondary schools as the current measures are ineffective. “At the moment, we don’t have a solid action we can impose on school bullies aside from caning and engagement with parents. It is time for schools to implement more stringent punishments,” he was quoted as saying.
Initial discussions at the ministry’s level resulted in suggestions for expulsion of school bullies, but the idea was rejected as it would affect the students’ future. Hence the plan for a suspension period instead, which will be enforced on all primary and secondary school students who are involved in bullying cases.
The period of suspension would depend on the offence, but the aggressors could get a maximum of one-year community service or time in a rehab, with no compromise for students who incited or led the bullying in a group. Suspended students will have to complete the year of community service or rehab as a condition to re-enter school. If the said student is due to sit for major examinations, he/she would have to do it the following year, Datuk Seri Mahdzir explained.
Meanwhile, school bullying cases that become criminal cases will be left to the police to investigate.