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School CP - June 2004

Corpun file 13504

Borneo Bulletin, Bandar Seri Begawan, 4 June 2004

Call to stop harsh penalty in schools

By Rosli Abidin Yahya

Parents are calling for all schools in the country to stop any forms of corporal punishment to be carried out on students with behavioural or disciplinary problems.

Corporal punishment carried out by a few isolated teachers should be halted as such harsh penalty is no longer relevant in addressing students' unruly behaviour and should not be tolerated in this modern era, according to some parents.

In a recent case which happened in the middle of last month, a primary school student was allegedly being imposed with corporal punishment when a teacher of a school in the Belait District allegedly slapped and hit the boy on the face.

The family of the boy reported the incident to the Panaga Police Station and when contacted by the Bulletin reporter, police officers there confirmed the May 17 incident.

The family also took the boy to a hospital for medical check-up.

"The case is still being investigated and both parties may need to appear in courts," the police said.

Such isolated incident has caused alarms among parents who are calling for more soft approaches to be adopted by school teachers in dealing with students' unruly behaviour. "We understand teachers have the right to reprimand a misbehaving student but subjecting a student to physical beating would not only create bodily harm but also psychologically," said the parents.

Relevant officials at the Ministry of Education had earlier told the Bulletin that corporal punishments such as asking misbehaving students to stand in the hot sun are no longer tolerated, let alone physical beatings.

According to a local counsellor, the most effective strategy for dealing with law-breaking students is not by handing out punishment.

He said counselling is a more positive and effective way to enhance a healthy and balanced self-development as well as instilling a sense of positive self-worth among the younger generation.

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