Scare tac­tics in school

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - PARENTING -

IAM a par­ent of two kids, who are cur­rently study­ing in a Chi­nese-medium school. For the past two years (2009 and 2010), I have heard of many com­plaints re­gard­ing a par­tic­u­lar Stan­dard One teacher who beats her stu­dents un­til marks can be seen on var­i­ous parts of the body.

Among some of the pun­ish­ments that she meted out on her stu­dents were:

(1) Beat­ing a stu­dent so hard un­til the wooden ruler is bro­ken into two pieces.

(2) Hit­ting a stu­dent’s palm with the cane un­til the poor girl has dif­fi­culty hold­ing a spoon.

(3) Slap­ping a stu­dent on the mouth.

(4) Beat­ing a stu­dent with the cane un­til marks can be seen on the stom­ach, thighs and arms.

(5) Pun­ish­ing a stu­dent by mov­ing his ta­ble and seat­ing him next to the black­board, and the stu­dent had to copy all the home­work and as­sign­ments from there.

(6) Throw­ing books on the floor and in the dust­bin and ask­ing the stu­dents to pick the books up them­selves.

I want to know if the class teacher can pun­ish the chil­dren us­ing phys­i­cal force.

As far as I know, beat­ing or can­ing a stu­dent is only con­fined to the dis­ci­plinary teacher and not the class teacher.

Is there a law that pro­tects chil­dren’s rights? And what are the ac­tions that a par­ent can take if we, as par­ents re­alise that the teacher has gone over­board with the pun­ish­ment?

The par­ents of the af­fected chil­dren have lodged a com­plaint with the school au­thor­i­ties, yet no ac­tion has been taken on this teacher.

I would ap­pre­ci­ate it greatly if you can share some light on this mat­ter. – Con­cerned­par­ent We feel sad to note that our chil­dren are still se­verely pun­ished in schools. This means, there are still many peo­ple out there who are hurt­ing chil­dren in the name of dis­ci­pline. They do not re­alise that the phys­i­cal pun­ish­ments will also leave emo­tional scars that will last a life­time.

In Malaysia, we have the Child Act 2001 (Act 611) that forms part of the pro­tec­tive le­gal en­vi­ron­ment for chil­dren in the coun­try. Chil­dren’s rights to pro­tec­tion from vi­o­lence, abuse and ex­ploita­tion are clearly stated in the Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The duty-bear­ers for chil­dren’s rights are par­ents, care­providers, teach­ers and any­one who are in­volved in chil­dren’s lives.

When chil­dren are harmed or at risk, par­ents and care­providers should promptly re­move them from the dangers they are in. Sadly, many chil­dren are left in these sit­u­a­tions with­out pro­tec­tion un­til it is too late. Par­ents must be vig­i­lant in en­sur­ing their chil­dren are safe in schools. If a re­port falls on deaf ears, then keep mak­ing the same re­port un­til some­one in author­ity heeds and take ac­tion.

We must change our mind­sets to­wards how chil­dren should be treated. There are pos­i­tive and age-ap­pro­pri­ate ways that work with chil­dren in­stead of re­sort­ing to us­ing the cane or scare tac­tics.

We can­not use force to mo­ti­vate chil­dren to be­have them­selves. When chil­dren have done wrong, they need to learn what is right from their teach­ers and par­ents. They need pa­tience and un­der­stand­ing.

In or­der for our chil­dren to learn and grow in a vi­o­lence-free school, par­ents and teach­ers must work hand-in-hand to choose non-puni­tive ways of deal­ing with chil­dren’s mis­be­haviour. Speak up for chil­dren in schools when their voice is not heard.

It has to be a con­certed ef­fort that all par­ties in­volved in chil­dren’s learn­ing to make sure that they are act­ing re­spon­si­bly to curb the dif­fi­cul­ties faced in the class­rooms. Get in­volved in your child’s par­ent-teacher as­so­ci­a­tion and work on us­ing pos­i­tive in­flu­ences on the teach­ers who are us­ing phys­i­cal pun­ish­ments in their classes.

There are many ex­pe­ri­enced and con­fi­dent teach­ers in schools to­day who do not prac­tise threat­en­ing chil­dren with the cane or ver­bally scold them. They mo­ti­vate their stu­dents by of­fer­ing them en­cour­age­ment and com­pas­sion. Their stu­dents in turn re­spect them and duly be­have well in class.

In Malaysia, we need greater com­mu­nity sup­port in mak­ing our schools and homes safe and pos­i­tive for our chil­dren. Unicef has a dig­i­tal cam­paign that calls for a com­pre­hen­sive study of child abuse. This is to help us to know the scope and se­ri­ous­ness of the is­sue in our com­mu­nity.

This study aims to set bench­marks for the mea­sure­ment of child abuse. We want to change the pub­lic view from “can­ing to teach” to the way that is show­ing sup­port and help for chil­dren to learn.

You can act and learn to pro­tect chil­dren at www.unite again­ DEEP­AVALI, Christ­mas, New Year and Chi­nese New Year are all just around the corner. Yes, we’re com­ing to the end of the year and that means an­nual bonuses, shop­ping and gift buy­ing for many.

With that in mind, ParenThots has com­piled some hol­i­day gift ideas for those who will be shop­ping, not just for the up­com­ing fes­tiv­i­ties, but also for birth­days and other oc­ca­sions.

To help us spend wisely and save as much as we can, the ParenThots Hol­i­day Gift Guide ( gifts) is limited to items priced at RM100 and be­low. If you’re buy­ing gifts for cou­ples who are preg­nant, con­sider a gift voucher to one of the many ma­ter­nity wear shops around.

What do you get for your friends or fam­ily mem­bers who are par­ents?

You could try buy­ing some­thing for the home – tealights, fancy can­dles, can­dle hold­ers, photo frames, cush­ion cov­ers, bags and even fam­ily DVDs.

Kids are the most fun to shop for. There are so many won­der­ful toys and books and lovely clothes to buy for them.

ParenThots of­fers many more tips and ideas for the yearend shop­ping.

Pick up baby vs let baby cry

WHAT should you do when your baby cries? Some say par­ents should pick their baby up to see what is wrong and to com­fort the child.

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