Malaysia – This morning, the Ministry of Education informed the Dewan Rakyat that it is developing a four-tiered structure to combat bullying in schools.
Datuk Mohd Radzi Jidin, the school’s minister, said that the proposed internal system would enable children and parents to make complaints directly while preserving the complainants’ names, but stopped short of clarifying how it would differ from present methods for dealing with bullies.
“There may be instances in which the school attempts to conceal an incident, but if this occurs in any public school, we are committed to taking swift and stern action against any school administration that attempts to conceal any incidence of bullying in their establishment,” he said.
“That is why we are building this complaint system,” he continued, “so that the ministry can investigate situations of bullying in depth and decide the appropriate course of action.”
Additionally, Radzi warned that the ministry may impose stricter penalties on bullies.
The ministry is now analyzing existing sanctions in order to “improve” them, he told the Lower House, “so that the consequences singled out are suitable.”
This might include arming wardens at boarding schools with the authority to administer harsher penalties, the senator added. Radzi did not specify the nature of these sanctions.
“The government is assessing current sanctions for students who commit bullying in order to ensure that any sanctions imposed are reasonable and serve as an effective deterrent,” he added.
These measures are a component of a four-tiered anti-bullying framework that the ministry plans to formalize next year.
Radzi said that his ministry is now in discussions with school principals and police officers as part of an ongoing process to develop the framework.
Bullying has been a pervasive issue that has afflicted not just educational institutions, but also private enterprises and the public sector.
Recent high-profile bullying incidents have ended in fatalities, igniting public outrage. The subject has resurfaced after a recent occurrence involving three youngsters who are thought to be pupils at a public boarding school.
The bullying event was captured on tape. Several male students were seen hitting and kicking another teenager in the brief video, which lasted around 30 seconds.
The event happened between 1am and 2am on December 9 and included a 13-year-old victim.