Archive for the ‘Behaviour / discipline management’ Category

Education Ministry: Actions taken to help schools deal with disciplinary, drug problems

Saturday, August 19th, 2017
Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan yesterday explained that the 402 schools did not necessarily have hard core disciplinary issues such as drugs or bullying. (pix by SALHANI IBRAHIM)

SHAH ALAM: The Education Ministry has taken various measures to tackle problems plaguing the 402 schools identified as hotspots for disciplinary and drug problems.

The Ministry said today that among others, it has offered legal literacy course to principals at the said schools and those under the Visionary Teen Programme (Program Remaja Berwawasan), a National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) between the Malaysian Armed Forces and police.

“The Armed forces and police have joined hands under the NBOS to mobilise their expertise to discipline students.

“Students attend weekly training session at schools and Summer Camp programme will be held at the Armed forces camps or police training centres.

“Police also play a role as School Liaison Officers tasked to assist them in addressing disciplinary issues.

“Bukit Aman Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department has distributed names of the schools involved to the relevant police headquarters for monitoring purposes,” the ministry’s School Management Division stated.

The Ministry hopes the efforts taken will be welcomed by the schools involved.

The New Straits Times had on Friday revealed list of schools that were identified as hotspots for disciplinary and drugs problems by sources.

Selangor topped with 76 schools on the list, which divided the schools into two categories, namely discipline (Category 1), and discipline with drug issues (Category 3).

The second highest was Johor with 63 (including one on Category 3), followed by Negri Sembilan (40, with five on Category 3), while Penang and Pahang shared the fourth spot with 37 schools each.


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Parents urged to play role in curbing gangsterism

Thursday, August 17th, 2017
Parents were urged to play more proactive role in curbing gangsterism among school students. NST file pic

IPOH: Parents were urged to play more proactive role in curbing gangsterism among school students.

Perak Crime Prevention and Community Policing department officer DSP Ng Bo Huat (community policing) said there is a need for parents to monitor and educate their children and not allow them to be bullied by their peers.

“If there are information on bullies in school, please call our hotline 05-240 1999 or Malaysia Emergency Response Service (MERS) 999. Parents could also bring this issue up in Parent-Teacher Associations where our school relations officers will attend the meeting as well. Give this info to discipline teachers too.

“Hotspot schools will be our focus. We will compare the list given by the Education Ministry to the list prepared by the school relations officers,” he said.

He said to increase public awareness on gangsterism, roadshows was also being held state-wide until September 11.

“There will also be talks held for discipline teachers and school relation officers (police) on how to tackle bullying in Perak. We are stepping efforts to empower crime prevention bully and gangsterism,” he said today.

Meanwhile, state exco in charge of education, science, environment and green technology Datuk Muhammad Amin Zakaria said more joint-activities and programme would be organised to curb disciplinary problems including school bullies.

In Perak,t0 schools are labelled as hotspots, with seven of them were identified with having both discipline and drugs problems, and the others listed for disciplinary issues.

The 402 schools listed as hotspots nationwide were identified through input from the Students’ Discipline System (Sistem Sahsiah Diri Murid or SSDM)

By Nuradzimmah Daim.

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How should we deal with bullies?

Friday, August 11th, 2017

A boy (left) showing how his brother was allegedly bullied in school in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, in 2015. FILE PIC

BULLYING is like cancer. It spreads without mercy and the end result is never pretty.

Most of us have had our share of dealings with bullies. It has taught me a valuable lesson, that bullying is a cry for help.

It is much more than just having a bad attitude. It ranges from unmet expectations to covering up one’s own shortcomings. Most of the time, bullies lash out to show that they are not weak or to establish a place among their peers.

Each time a video showing bullies beating up their victims goes viral, it provokes public outcry on the Internet, and, as expected, all eyes turn to Putrajaya wanting to know what the government will do about it.

We journalists are instructed by our bosses to get feedback from various quarters, each time this happens. The usual suspects include the Education Ministry, which would be asked how it would be handling the issue at the school level, and mental health experts would be asked to explain what causes bullying.

While waiting for an event to start recently in the administrative capital, I overheard several people exchanging views on the matter and how bullies should be treated. They suggested the application of scare tactics, including exposing bullies to prison life for a few days or sending them to the morgue to view the body of a bully victim.

A few were heard saying the bullies should be shipped to war-torn countries where their aggression could be put to good use to save lives.

Some felt hundreds hours of community service should be considered, including getting them involved in feeding vagrants and taking care of the sick and physically-challenged.

All of them agreed that nagging bullies would be pointless. Action spoke louder than words, they said. Unfortunately, there is no one remedy for bullying.

A global movement for good,, has shared several disturbing facts about bullying, including that more than 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year; 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying and one in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.

Based on these facts alone, it is understandable why Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had wanted the National Social Council to include bullying on its agenda.

Even participants at a recent Breakfast Talk held in conjunction with the #MerdekaQuranHour and #WorldQuranHour last Monday brought up the issue of bullying. They wanted to know how Islam through the Quran could address the problem.

In our fast-changing world, youngsters also have to deal with another form of bullying in the virtual world. Some children can become suicidal because of cyberbullying. We have all read news reports about children opting to end the pain of being bullied by taking a fatal leap from tall buildings or cutting their wrists or swallowing sleeping pills.

CyberSecurity Malaysia has put together statistics on cyber harassment cases, including cyberbullying. It recorded 300 cyber harassment cases in 2012, 512 in 2013, 550 in 2014, 442 in 2015 and 529 last year. There were 250 reported cases of cyberbullying among students in 2012, 389 in 2013, 291 in 2014, 256 in 2015 and 338 last year.


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DG: Action against schools if they hide cases of misconduct

Friday, August 4th, 2017

Khir being greeted by the pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Haji Bujang Rangawan Putin in Sadong Jaya yesterday. — Bernama photo

SADONG JAYA: The Education Ministry will take stern action against school management found to have concealed any misconduct, including bullying in schools, said its director- general Tan Sri Dr Khir Mohamad Yusof.

He said principals and headmasters must report immediately to the authorities any forms of misconduct, including student bullying cases in their respective schools.

“The act of reporting such cases will not affect the school but it is necessary to allow appropriate action to be taken against the parties concerned,” he said.

Khir told reporters this when asked on action being taken by the ministry on a group of female students involved in the bullying of a female student in a secondary school in Kunak, Sabah recently.

“Disciplinary action in accordance to the prescribed procedure will be taken on the school management if they fail to report any such cases in their schools to the authorities,” he said.

Khir said in view of the case that happened in a secondary school in Sabah was now a police case, the ministry was leaving it to the police to conduct investigation. On the part of the ministry, he said, if investigation revealed it was a bullying case, then action would be taken based on the existing standard operating procedures (SOP) while the students involved in the bullying case would be sent to the Henry Gurney school, among others.


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Stop the bullying with empathy

Monday, July 10th, 2017

POINTING fingers in the wake of the recent spate of fatal bullying cases in the country may seem futile but according to some experts, that could be the answer.

Bullying, they say, is a group process that comprises not only the bully and victim, but also bystanders – and all play a part in encouraging or stopping it.

Bystanders rarely play a completely neutral role in this “bully circle”, although they may think they do, Dr Christina Salmivalli, a professor of psychology at the University of Turku in Finland, has highlighted in her studies on the phenomenon in school.

Calling it the “social architecture of bullying”, Dr Salmivalli points out the “participant roles” in a bullying situation: assistants of the bully, reinforcers, outsiders and victim defenders (see chart).

“Bullying often takes place in a situation in which several members of the group are present; even the ones not present are usually aware of what is going on, due to the fact that bullying by definition happens repeatedly, over a period of time.

“So, not only do the bullies and the victim constitute an important element in the bullying process, but so, too, the ‘others’,” she argues.

Targeting these “others” and their powerful role as bystanders in a bullying situation is the strategy of KiVa, a research-based bullying prevention programme for schools in Finland that Dr Salmivalli co-developed at the university with funding from the Finnish Education Ministry.

Rather than focusing solely on punishing the bully, the programme focuses on increasing the empathy of bystanders and encouraging them to think about how to intervene in a bullying incident, especially when teachers or school administrators are not around

Alanen: ‘Worse than the bullying itself was that nobody defended them or made it stop’.

Alanen: ‘Worse than the bullying itself was that nobody defended them or made it stop’.

As Dr Salmivalli puts it, “Even if the majority of children in the class do not participate in active bullying behaviour, they may behave in ways which make the beginning and continuation of the bullying process possible.”

Assistants of the bully, for example, don’t initiate but join in the bullying while reinforcers of the bully do not join in but give verbal and non-verbal signs of approval like laughing and applauding. The outsiders simply turn a blind eye to the abuse and violence despite being fully aware of what is going on.

As in the case of 19-year-old hate crime victim T. Nhaveen in Penang, who died after being beaten and sodomised by a group of his former schoolmates – he had allegedly been bullied since school.

In the fatal bullying case of Malaysian National Defence University (UPNM) student Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, he was allegedly tortured for two days on campus, before being taken to a doctor at a private clinic to have his injuries treated, and then “hidden” at an apartment nearby.

The “ignoring” of what is going on between the bully and victim by witnesses may be interpreted by the bully as approval of his or her behaviour, asserts Dr Salmivalli.

KiVa’s international project manager Johanna Alanen agrees.

“In many countries, schools practise zero-tolerance policies, which experts say punish students but do not teach them about bullying.

“KiVa teaches them about bullying while ingraining empathy in students. And when students are taught the simple concept of being supportive and speaking up for their bullied peers, the outcome is tremendous,” Alanen tells a visiting group of Asian journalists in Helsinki recently.

Since it was introduced in 2009 in 1,465 schools involving over 500,000 students aged between seven and 15 years old, the programme has shown a significant decrease in bullying cases in the Nordic country, with some 98% of victims involved feeling their situation has improved.


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Teachers Bullied By Students Should Report To School Management

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 (Bernama) — Teachers who are victims of bullying by students should report the matter to the school management for an investigation panel be formed to investigate and take action against the perpetrators, to prevent a recurrence of such misconduct.

Deputy Education Minister, Datuk P. Kamalanathan said if teachers were reluctant to lodge a police report, they should report the bullying to the school management so that a third party in the education system could further investigate the case.

“We want to find the best solution to the problem and perhaps there is proof that the students identified were involved, hence actions such as counselling can be taken to curb the problem of bullying of teachers by students.”

He said this to Bernama after the launching of the ‘Fit For Life’ Fitness Month at Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Kuchai, here, today.

Kamalanathan said the ministry was aware that some teachers refused to report on being bullied by students because of fear over their own and their family’s safety.

He said bullying of teachers could be in various forms, such as issuing threats and damaging of their vehicles by students after they were admonished for indiscipline.

He added that there was also concern among teachers over punishment to be meted against the students involved if the bullying incidents were reported to the police or school management.

Kamalanathan said the reports lodged were not merely aimed at penalising the students involved but to make them understand that a teacher’s role was similar to that of parents who wished to educate them in order to excel and become successful individuals.

Recently, the Consumers Association of Penang revealed that teachers had also become victims of bullying by problematic students in schools, hence contributing to gangsterism among the young in this country.


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Close Ties Between Parents, Teachers Vital In Curbing Bullying In School

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

BESUT, July 4 (Bernama) — The close ties between parents and teachers will be of help in curbing bullying among school students which have been rampant of late, according to president of Ex-Policemen Association of Malaysia (PBPM) Hussin Awang Ngah.

He said the good ties and frequent meetings held between the two parties would ensure accurate information being exchanged about the activities of the students at schools.

“The children will show a more controlled behaviour if they know that their parents are frequenting the schools to to keep tab on their development. This will also prevent them (students) from breaking schools’ rules,” he told Bernama here today.

Hussin also said the roles of school prefects should be enhanced because as student themselves, they would be well-aware of what had been going on among their peers.

As such, he suggested that a module which focused on the prefects, as well as on discipline teachers, should be introduced in order to address the bullying cases in a good and orderly manner.


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Ministry Agrees To Leave To Police To Handle Bullying Cases In School

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

KUALA NERANG, July 4 (Bernama) — The Education Ministry has finally agreed to leave it to the police instead of the school management to handle cases of bullying in schools.

Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said he also supported Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s remark that the move would curb bullying in schools which had become rampant with apparent criminal elements.

“I support the deputy prime minister’s remark because there are some cases which involved elements of crime and should be handled by the police,” he told reporters here today.

He also urged school management to immediately lodge a police report about any instances of bullying among their students and not to sweep it under the carpet.

“School management must not hide any of such cases. If there is elements of crime, it must be reported to the police so that immediate action can be taken immediately,” he said.

In another development, the minister said the government will not compromise on the requirement of a compulsory pass in Bahasa Melayu (BM) in the Sijil Peperiksaan Malaysia (SPM) examination.

“At SPM-level, a pass in BM and History is compulsory, which means that if you fail the two subjects, you will not get SPM certificate,” he said.


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Are we encouraging the right values?

Friday, June 23rd, 2017
(File pix) Bullying is not limited to physical assault. Verbally tormenting someone with the intention to harm is just as damaging.

AS we inch closer to Hari Raya Aidilfitri, I can’t help but think of the parents who have recently lost their children to the hands of bullies.

Cheerful Raya songs will be playing everywhere, there will be fireworks and open houses to visit, but they won’t be able to join in the festivities as they will be mourning a huge loss in their lives.

How did bullying among teens and young adults in Malaysia come to this extreme?

Whenever I read the details of a bullying case that ends tragically, I find it so disturbing that young people can harbour so much rage. Under no circumstances can it be considered normal for someone to lash out on another until there is no ounce of humanity left in him.

It is NOT normal to express anger in such a way. Where did these young people learn to inflict such sadistic bodily harm? Did they learn it from an abusive household or from violent media content?

It is important to highlight that bullying is not limited to physical assault; verbally tormenting someone with the intention to harm them is just as damaging.

One can argue that the psychological impact caused by prolonged verbal abuse is equally as detrimental as physical bullying.

Let us not dismiss the suicide cases where victims endured months, sometimes even years, of verbal assaults before ending their lives. I don’t think this even needs to be mentioned — people should know that hurtful words can cause long-lasting damage to one’s self-esteem.

There are two key institutions that play a vital role in curbing bullying: homes and schools. It is not enough to solely rely on government campaigns to tackle bullying; it needs to be addressed at the grassroots.

Students spend majority of their time at home and school. Therefore, these are the institutions that need to be proactive in tackling the issue of bullying.

Like charity, everything begins at home — violence, vulgarity and insolence are learnt and reinforced behaviour. The kind of behaviour that people carry forward into adulthood, whether it is upright or corrupt, are habits that have been enabled by the people around them.

There is a reason why certain social taboos withstand the test of time. For example, in all Asian societies, disrespecting the elderly is highly frowned upon.

This taboo has remained even throughout modern times because members of society reinforce it to the point it no longer needs to be exhaustively explained; it has become an integral part of Asian societal values.

Just as disrespecting elders is deemed a shameful act and we shame those who do it, there is no good reason for bullying to not be dealt with in the same way. Shame is not a dirty word although it has gotten a bad reputation for being associated with the likes of body-shaming, gender-shaming, etc.

In this day and age, the concept of shaming has become so controversial as it humiliates the wrongdoer, but shame is a very natural and effective deterrent for unacceptable behaviour.

If bullying was an indisputably shameful act, both parents and teachers, the ones who are shaping the minds of future generations, would take bolder moves to put an end to it.

According to some anthropologists, cultures can be divided into shame and guilt cultures. Guilt is an inward mechanism and shame an outward one. Guilt refers to a natural, in-built mechanism that produces strong feelings of remorse when someone has done something wrong, to the point that they need to correct the matter.

If misconduct is no longer shamed, eventually, what this does is disable naturally occurring deterrents to misbehaviour. Having said that, people must understand the difference between shaming someone and ruthlessly bashing them, the latter being something widely done on the Internet.

We need to start evaluating what mindset and behaviours that we as a society are shaming and upholding — are we deterring and encouraging the right values?

Both homes and schools should check and balance each other; when one is lacking, the other should play the supporting role, because more often than not, many children are unfortunate enough to come from unstable households.

If bullies themselves are products of a problematic childhood, teachers have to let young people know that no matter what they are going through, taking out their frustration on another person does no good to them or the person they are lashing out on.


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Quit blaming, start treating

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
Naval cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain and T. Nhaveen’s senseless deaths have raised many questions, and the topic has been debated for a long time, but with no solution in sight. Pix by Zain Ahmed

THERE is just too much to stomach in this holy month of Ramadan. First, the death of naval cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain , 21, from the Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) who was brutally tortured by his college mates — just over a laptop; and second, the death of T. Nhaveen, 18, who was brutally assaulted by five youths.

Their senseless deaths have raised many questions, and it’s the topic that has been debated for a long time, but with no effective solution in sight. Bullying and gangsterism started ages ago. Who’s to blame for such deaths? Parents? Neglect? Our education system? The Internet?

The blame game should stop in order for us to start solving the problem. The problem has become quite rampant in recent years. These two incidents showed that our youth seemed to have lost all sense of compassion and humility. What has happened to our tagline, a caring society?

Let’s first examine some of the common causes of bullying. A bully is a person who purposely hurts others. Bullying is an unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Those who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. The victim, especially, are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.

As a rule of thumb, bullies come from dysfunctional families, although there are exceptions to the rule. Bullies don’t care how others feel. Some children either lack empathy or just relish seeing others in pain as in the case of the youths who bullied the late Nhaveen. A common reason that a kid is a bully is because he lacks attention from parents at home and lashes out at others for attention.

According to a former disciplinary teacher, the root cause of disciplinary problems is when students get involved with bad company. Influence of friends is a great factor.

Even more so when parents are too busy with work that they don’t have the time to monitor their children’s activities after school. Once the children start to mix with bad hats, they start to feel that they are superior. Being able to make other students obey them makes them feel great — as if they are heroes. Where does bullying occur most often? Those who had been bullied revealed that the most common place for bullying to occur was at the playground, and the less common to be bullied, in the classroom, while a handful said in corridors and hallways.

A study from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) found that most bullies have almost ridiculously high self-esteem. The same study showed bullies are often popular in school (for the wrong reason) and their victims are unpopular. This can make the pain of bullying even more brutal. Kids who push others around are often driven by the need for power. They enjoy being able to subdue others. These types of kids are typically impulsive and hot headed and they thrive when their victims cower in their presence.

It is not right to treat any human being or even animals in such an inhumane and barbaric act. All religions in this world teach us to be kind to people and animals. What were the six college mates thinking of when they did what they did to Zulfarhan? And, the alleged assault on Nhaveen, what triggered it? Whatever the reason, we cannot condone such a barbaric act. A lot of soul searching needs to be done here.

I feel our very own education system has failed in shaping our children into good and responsible adults. We lack subjects that teach students to be responsible, to have respect and to be kind to one another as human beings. There should be more subjects that teach moral values in the school curriculum starting from primary, secondary and right through the tertiary level. Such moral values must be imbued in children and repeated so that the values are deeply ingrained and they will remember them for the rest of their lives.

Schools should also have more task-based learning where students are required to work as a team to help others. For instance, kudos to Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Tun Ghaffar Baba Form Five students, who are involved in projects such as distributing food and cleaning kits to the homeless around the Masjid Jamek area while waiting for their SPM results early this year. Recently, the group has helped set up a library for the Rohingya refugees in Ampang. Such projects will help instill the spirit of helping people instead of bullying them.


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