FMT Reporters | June 17, 2017

National Union of the Teaching Profession's secretary-general says tackling social ills requires the cooperation of various quarters, not teachers alone

PETALING JAYA: The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) has disputed a call by Lim Guan Eng for school teachers and staff to have their responsibilities over students extended beyond the school’s premises following the recent spate of highly publicised bullying cases.

Its secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said the NUTP was not agreeable to the Penang chief minister’s suggestion for several reasons.

He said that apart from the safety of teachers being compromised, many did not have the expertise to handle disciplinary cases outside school which could involve adult gangsters and triad society members.

He said criminal cases came under the jurisdiction of the police.

“Teachers are not law enforcers, babysitters or even counsellors for society,” he said in a statement today.

“We stress that teachers should not be solely held responsible for the ills of society as we believe that a holistic approach and cooperation from the school, parents, police and society are needed to nip any disciplinary problem in the bud,” he added.

Lim made the remark in George Town yesterday after attending the wake of teenager T Nhaveen, who died from the injuries he sustained after being assaulted by five youths.

Lim said schools should have a “paper trail” to track every single bullying case and how it was followed up.

He added that for starters, teachers and school staff had to keep a close eye on students for every single bruise sustained on their bodies.

Tan however refuted any notion that teachers were not already doing this.

“I would like to vehemently deny that teachers do not keep a system to record instances of bullying in schools,” he said.

“We are to report every single case of indiscipline and act according to the discipline procedures and guidelines laid out by the ministry of education,” he added.

“The school also has to make police reports depending on the severity of the cases and if the situation warrants it.”

Nhaveen, 18, and his friend T Previin, 19, were attacked by five youths whom they recognised as friends and former schoolmates on the evening of June 9.

One of them allegedly abducted Nhaveen, dragging him to a nearby field, where he was later found unconscious with wounds to his head, hip, private part and anus.

He was rushed to the Penang Hospital but was declared brain dead before passing away Thursday evening after his heart rate dropped.

Previin meanwhile has undergone surgery to reconstruct a broken cheekbone. He is recovering at the same hospital that Nhaveen was admitted to.

Police have reclassified the case as murder, after initially investigating it as a rioting case under the Penal Code. Five men have been remanded to help in investigations.