No to year-long suspension
THE Ministry of Education’s suggestion to enforce a year-long suspension on students involved in bullying is shocking.
Suspension is not an effective solution. The ministry must determine the root cause. The aim should be proper rehabilitation. Both schools and parents should take steps to prevent and stop bullying in schools as early as kindergarten.
Teach children what bullying is and why it is harmful. This is important to stop bullying behaviour before it starts.
Schools must formulate effective programmes. A clear policy on how to discipline bullies and implementing consistent corrective measures is an essential component of prevention. Schools must investigate all bullying complaints and demonstrate that bullying is unacceptable.
The bully should be referred for counselling. Schools and parents must monitor the bully’s behaviour and continue to discipline if necessary. If at all suspension is meted out, it should be to help investigations and not be longer than 1-2 weeks.
The ministry is urged to engage in discussions with paediatricians, psychiatrist and counsellors to formulate a comprehensive plan on prevention of bullying in schools.
Dr N. Thiyagar President Malaysian Paediatric Association