Bullying is not just a “national issue, it is also a global one. Boarding school is a common thing in our modern society be in a secular or religious setting. In the recent days here in Malaysia however, has brought to light to the sad case and death of Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gadaffi, 11 years old a student of Tahfiz Al Jauhar, in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.
The facts are, that the assistant warden at the school allegedly beat him with a water hose until he was black and blue. He was taken out of school by his mom on March 31 and sought traditional treatment first, then hospitalized. His legs were amputated and he was comatose. Thaqif passed away on April 26, 2017. As of today, the assistant warden is under police custody. It has created a public uproar. This isn’t the first case to come to light but little action was taken.
The facts of this case are still sketchy and the information is still coming out. We do not know if this was a bullying tragedy per se. In this instance, the adult is the one that is perpetrating the act of violence. I want to touch on the issue of responsibility and awareness from school administration perspective and what can be done better. We often discuss from the child and parents point of view. But need to remember everything is connected. It is key that all parties; parents, students and school administration work together to understand any signs of bullying or any form of aggression and violence before it escalates.
What can schools and administration, authorities do?
- Schools and administrations need to have a real proactive attitude towards the subject matter. Acknowledge that there is a bullying problem and issue. There needs to be a zero tolerant attitude towards aggression of any form. Call it ragging,hazing, inducting, whatever… it is a form of power play, subordination. Those so-called “small things” can lead to a more devastating outcome.
- Make sure school rules and policies are consistent with state or national laws and policies. Make it accessible so that people are aware of its existence as a reference to each individual.
- Include school staff, parents and students when developing school rules and policies. Giving students a role can help them set their own climate of respect and responsibility. Parental involvement can reinforce these messages at home.
- Do background checks on staff members that will have high interaction and involvement with students. Do your best to hire the good and right people.
- Train school staff, especially school counselors, on enforcing school rules and policies. Give them the tools to consciously respond to bullying consistently and appropriately.
- Incorporate rules and policies in day-to-day school running. Teachers and students can discuss the rules in class. Students can hold each other accountable. The principal can give an annual “state of the school” speech that reports on the mission.
These are just some ideas.We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how schools and administration can help to prevent or deal with bullying.
Till next time,
About the writer
Mazura Illani Manshoor graduated from Boston University with a degree in Psychology. She is a certified Early Childhood and a Montessori teacher with years of teaching experience.
Ms. Manshoor is a co-founder of CreaTee with strong passion for children and education causes.