‘Every school needs an anti-bullying team’

National PTA consultative council head Mohamad Ali Hassan says there is a lack of data on bullying cases in national schools despite increases in reports about them. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The National Parent-Teacher Association has called for the immediate establishment of an anti-bullying task force for every government school in the country.

Mohamad Ali Hassan, who chairs the association’s consultative council, made the call in the wake of a report about the assault of an eight-year-old girl in a school in Kuala Lumpur.

Mohamad Ali Hassan.

Speaking to FMT, he suggested that each task force be composed of parents, teachers and representatives of the police and the education department of the state where the school is located.

“They should probe bullying cases immediately,” he said. “Being proactive could prevent future cases as the same students could be involved.”

In the Kuala Lumpur case, the girl was reportedly slapped, punched and kicked a number of times by her classmates.

Her mother wanted to lodge a police report but police officers allegedly told her to raise the matter with the school authorities. They said a police probe might result in criminal records on children, she told FMT.

Ali said bullying cases should not be “swept under the carpet” because the culprits might feel encouraged to continue with their behaviour.

He said the proposed task force should look into every genuine case reported in the media or by parents and students.

He also noted the lack of data on bullying cases in national schools despite increases in reports about them.

The task forces could collect such data, he said, adding that a database with detailed information about bullies and their victims would be useful in addressing and curbing the problem.

For example, he said, the education ministry could refer to the database when planning counselling programmes for victims and their parents.

Reports about bullying in national schools have been increasing in recent years. Last year, a Year Six student at a boarding school in Kapit, Sarawak, was arrested following the death of a seven-year-old pupil of the same school. The boy died after admission to the Sibu Hospital. He was unconscious when he was taken to the hospital.