Vet background of those in charge, says teachers’ union

By Danial Dzulkifly
Scenic Rawang-Serendah bypass opens today

PETALING JAYA, April 24 — School wardens must be vetted before they are hired to ensure they are capable of safeguarding welfare of students.

Commenting on the case in Johor where a warden in a madrasah had allegedly repeatedly hit a 11-year-old with a rubber hose resulting in both legs being amputated, National Union of the Teaching Profession president Kamarolzaman Abdul Razak said he was shocked to hear the man who had a theft and drug conviction being hired as a warden.

“The madrasah management should have vetted their staff members carefully especially wardens as they need to safeguard the welfare of the students round the clock,” he said.

“Teachers go through a stringent vetting process to ensure they are fit for the job, the same should be for dormitory wardens,” he said.

On the case in Sabah where a year-two pupil suffered a head injury after being hit by a wooden chair thrown by a teacher in Penampang, he said the teacher should be taken out of the school and sent for counselling.

‘’This is to ensure he will not pose a danger to students and he must get proper help. Teachers should not take it upon themselves to punish students but should first discuss the matter with their superiors.

“Caning is permissible, however it must be done in accordance with the guidelines set by the ministry and be considered as a last resort to discipline students.”

Kamarolzaman said teachers under duress should take it upon themselves to inform school administrators of their condition to ensure they receive the right help.

“The must not be afraid to speak out if they are under a lot of stress or are depressed to the (school) board. The board or the school administration should advise these teachers whether they should take a break or be sent to district education department for counselling or even both.

“This is for the sake of students’ welfare and if they (school administrators and teachers) don’t do this they might end hurting the students and themselves,’’ he said.

On Saturday, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid urged school heads to help teachers with depression, following the two cases of student abuse.

Parent Action Group for Education Chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim advised teachers and wardens to seek the right help to prevent abuses in schools.

She said teachers need to report if they need help and principals and headmasters must not ignore the plight faced by teachers.

“Undoubtedly there may be cases of teachers facing depression in schools, thus leading to the possibility of them loosing control over their actions.

“Teachers and headmasters cannot close a blind eye or continue to protect ‘problematic’ teachers, and if they continue to ignore the matter, there could be more cases of students being injured,” she said.