PERAK — The family of a teenage boy who was allegedly injured by bullies at The Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) in Perak has raised an issue with the school's leniency in handling the case and the alleged culture within the institution.
The incident came to light after the victim's sister, Amira, shared her brother's story on Instagram.
“Taking this to the public because all our effort and sincerity in wanting to resolve this amicably behind closed doors have been disappointing. More than obtaining justice, we fear for my brother’s safety. Today it's serious injury, what could be next? In the end, it really is #KitaJagaKita. #StandAgainstBullying,” the post read.
What actually happened in the incident?
According to Amira's account, the incident unfolded on 24 September, when her brother was allegedly subjected to a brutal assault.
Her family received a call at 3am from the school warden requesting permission to send the boy to the Kuala Kangsar Hospital.
While the family was on the way to the hospital, the situation took a dire turn when a doctor informed the family that the victim had sustained severe injuries and needed an immediate transfer to Taiping Hospital.
When examined, the victim initially claimed that he had fallen and slipped in the toilet. However, the doctor at the hospital was not buying that explanation, and called on the school to make a police report regarding the bullying case.
After the school failed to act, it was the hospital that eventually lodged the report.
Kuala Kangsar police chief Omar Bakhtiar Yaacob confirmed the case and stated that it would be investigated under Section 323 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt.
Amira's family eventually learnt through some forwarded messages on WhatsApp that the boy, a Form 4 student, had allegedly been asked by some Form 5 seniors to gather in a room at around 12.20am on 24 September.
During the confrontation, her brother was rugby-tackled by one of the seniors, allegedly hitting his private parts, causing severe injury. The group of students continued to assault him until he failed to respond, and then dispersed.
The victim was then taken to the dormitory by an unknown party, and later to the hospital by the school warden.
What were the "promised" actions?
A subsequent meeting on 25 September involved the school's headmaster, administrators, a Fully Residential School (SBP) officer, the police and the victim's family.
Initially, it had appeared as if the school and authorities were committed to taking action against the bullies, with discussions involving punitive measures and a "you touch, you go" policy being mentioned.
However, according to Amira, discussions took a different turn on 6 October, during a meeting with the families of the alleged bullies, who pleaded for their sons to not face expulsion, and agreed to certain disciplinary actions if the bullies were painted as the victims of the case instead.
These measures included a written "Aku Janji" to promise good behaviour, a public apology, community service work, suspension ranging from one to two weeks, counselling, monetary compensation, and the stripping of ranks (such as house captains and prefects).
The victim's family was also informed that the supposed punishment for the alleged bullies would be delayed because the families had managed to hire a lawyer who assisted in requesting for a postponement.
While this was taking place, the victim and his alleged bullies continued attending school and classes together, leading to further distress for the victim's family.
A different set of actions allegedly taken
On 20 October, the school's headmaster informed the family that the alleged bullies' punishment for causing grievous harm would be two to three strokes of the cane in a closed setting, as well as community service.
This decision left Amira's family disappointed and frustrated, as the bullies were neither suspended, expelled nor stripped of their ranks. The family expressed concern for the victim's safety, as the bullies remained within the school's environment.
The school's headmaster told them, "We are serious in fostering harmony until the perpetrators are willing to take him (Amira's brother) as their step-sibling."
The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of MCKK has voiced its disapproval of the actions taken by the family of the Form 4 student attending the school, who chose to make bullying incident public.
In an official statement, the association expressed its criticism, asserting that the student's family should not have resorted to posting details of the case on social media.
The PTA has characterised this decision as "lacking consideration" and "self-centered."
“The move to publicise the issue has had a large impact and smeared the image of the MCKK as a whole," it said. "Once again, the PTA regrets the action of the student’s family which is seen as inconsiderate and selfish in their attempt to publicise the issue."
On the other hand, netizens aware of the case have urged Amira's family to seek legal counsel and demand justice for the victim.
Rasanya dh ada precedent case membabitkan buli ni.Harap2 keluarga mangsa dpt proceed dgn legal action.
— Ranger Hijau (@Habshi_JB) November 3, 2023
Go and fight in court! Pastikan budaya buli ni pupus selamanya!
Sila terus contact lawyer ni @wanazlianaadnan
— Sir kamarul (@kamarul14) November 4, 2023
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