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Education 2011: Making Kids Safe Schools

schools safe

(What makes a school really safe? An old guard at the front, high walls and strict rules? Or something more? Notice source:

They sure don’t make schools as to how it used to be…

Whilst the “Indians” fight on the “Interlok” case (for reasons I still trying to understand, perhaps MIC want to be relevant again, perhaps it is due to Tenang, I don’t know), here is something that I read several days ago which is more serious than the “P” word:-

After only three weeks in school, Year One pupil S. Shanya, seven, dreads putting on her uniform and attending class — all because she does not want a repeat of the abusive treatment she allegedly received from a teacher last Wednesday.

It is understood Shanya received similar treatment twice before

Shanya was allegedly thumped on her head, hit on her chest and had her ears pulled because she was standing in the wrong line before going back to class after recess.

(Source: The Malay Mail)

We may have made schools safe from outsiders with security guards (albeit old pak guard), strict school rules (even parents have a hard time walking in to see their kids) and high walls but what about within the school itself?

Having a teacher losing his / her patience and shouting at their students is nothing new (we even have teachers who used derogatory words in the past but they were let off easy).

But is it reasonable for losing it and taking it on a Standard 1 student?

I still recall when I was in Standard 1, it did not take long for the class teacher to punish some of the naughtier bunch of us with myself getting the long end of the wooden ruler on my palm but then again, it was nothing new. Punishment at home was even harsher than the one we were getting from our teachers.

And to their credit, teachers do then tend to look at the other side when we were very mischief and hard to control. They need not take the cane and whack us up – not when they have a better method to punish us.

All they need to do is to pass this piece of information to our parents who will not hesitate to hang us on the spot. But that was almost 20 years ago.

Fast forward to the present time, things have changed a lot. As parents, we are more concerned about our kids. If they are mischief, instead of taking the thick rotan as how our parents did, we choose to do one-to-one consultations.

We worry a lot about our kids even when they are at home, right under our close supervision. I lost count of the times when me and my wife shouted at my son, not to jump on the sofa and run up the staircase.

I know, perhaps it is unreasonable and may end up making our kid-less resilient. Especially when our parents let us climb trees way before we went to school and did not bother much when we fell and hurt ourselves (sometimes we get whacked due to this). It is part of learning to grow up, our parents used to say.

So, when the day came to send our kids to school, our worries on the safety of our kids continue to follow.

At the first day of school, some parents even got worried when they noticed their kids’ classroom is not the ground floor – they worry that their kids may get trampled by the bigger kids when they are going down or up the stairs or they may slip and fall down (even though they use the stairs at home all the time).

They worry about their kids getting lost within the school compound, so they stay up all day long, keeping an eye on their kids from far. They worry their kids may buy the wrong things from the canteen so the parents wake up very early in the morning to prepare healthy, difficult to prepare packed lunch.

Coming to the above incident, no doubt teachers are just humans with the usual shortcomings but it is rather unprofessional of the teacher to be abusive of the Standard 1 students – they are just coming from the stage of nursery and into the age of normal schooling (some even come in without going through the nursery and have been dependent on their parents for many things).

At Standard 1, they are left to their own device – with their parents not standing next to them and the teacher not having the time to give that personal attention (with almost 30 students per class, there is very little the teachers can do when it comes to personal attention) – they too have a tough time at school.

No doubt it is high time for them to grow up and be more independent – it is part of the cycle that everyone has to go through at one point of their life. The last thing they need is for some teacher to lose their cool and start whacking them for reasons the young Standard 1 student yet to comprehend.

A school must be a fun, safe place to be, not the other way around.

Read Also

Teaching Maths to Kids

Creating Safe Schools

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