KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — The government will examine guidelines for school principals in handling sexual harassment cases and revise these soon if necessary, said Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
She explained that this may help school heads to better evaluate such incidents and encourage them to be more proactive in reporting such matters to higher authorities for further action.
These would also lead to greater safeguards for the complainants while the allegations are examined.
“While the person accused is innocent until proven guilty under the law, we must also ensure that we are proactive to protect the wellbeing of the children,” Teo said in an exclusive interview with Malay Mail.
“Our principals and headmasters must take it very seriously when they receive such complaints as it is our obligation towards the children.”
In June, a teacher in an Ampang school was accused of sexually harassing his students, after having been accused of a similar act in the past.
Teo explained that she discovered this when examining the matter and learned that he was transferred out of the previous school after the police cleared him in their investigation.
She said this prompted her to consider a review of the standard operating procedures when dealing with such cases, noting there was a need to ensure that both the accused teachers and students received the needed levels of protection.
“I will look into the SOP to see how we can improve further, what especially caught my attention was that he was accused of a similar wrongdoing previously.
“I want to know if the SOP had been adhered to and how we can improve it,” she added.
Teo said the teacher has been transferred to the district education office pending investigation.