No to year-long sus­pen­sion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

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

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