How (not) to solve complaints, Part 2: Institutional Bullying

How (not) to solve complaints, Part 2: Institutional Bullying

How much damage can a teacher do to a child? And should this teacher – and the associated school – take responsibility for the damage done? Those questions repeatedly emerged when I read Sekolah Bogor Raya’s counselling report on undue “tutoring” that went on for months, under the “watchful” eyes of a teacher.

The context in a nutshell is unsettling enough. An SBR teacher colluded with a Grade-12 student to implement additional “tutoring” of a Grade-6 pupil, without consent from either parents or school counsellors. As the counselling report (right) details, said “tutoring” included pulling arms and pointing fingers at the pupil’s forehead (an extremely rude gesture in Indonesian society). Justification for this “tutoring” remains obscure, with extreme favouritism of the Grade-12 “tutor” by the teacher. (The teacher claims the student volunteered to “tutor” the pupil, an excuse that I personally find very hard to swallow.)

The results of this “tutoring” are documented in detail in the counselling report: intimidation, fear, anxiety, night terrors, etc. Far worse, the only reason this issue came to light is because the pupil has a good relation with his/her parents. Yet, it still took three months(!) for this “tutoring” to be exposed! Just imagine how badly the situation could have escalated for a child who does not have such an open relation…

Let’s call this “tutoring” – at the instigation and under the supervision of the teacher – what it really is: institutional bullying of a pupil. Not only did the teacher fail to identify and report the undue behaviour by the bully! She failed to acknowledge that her “tutor” didn’t have the educational skills required for the job. And ultimately, she failed to recognise these crucial character flaws in her unapologetic “apology” in which she continued to lay blame on the pupil (full details in the next post).

Similarly, SBR needs to take a good look in the mirror. Not only did it fail to identify repeating, undue interaction between a Grade-6 pupil and a Grade-12 student! It also failed to keep the bully from continuing his visits to Grade-6 classrooms after he was banned from doing so. (Each relatively simple, as primary and secondary classes are situated in separate buildings at SBR.) Not only did it fail to investigate the highly dubious relation between the Grade-6 teacher and the Grade-12 student, there appear to have been no corrective actions towards the teacher at all. Once again, SBR merely parrots the bullshit provided by the teacher and the student and effectively further denigrates the victim of the bullying.

This is but yet another example of the ochlocracy to which SBR appears to have been reduced. Practices are dictated by a handful of teachers and students, with management unable to uphold even the most basic rules and safeguards. In such a vacuum, bullying and foul language thrive and the lack of respect for (other) norms and values becomes a fundamental flaw of the whole school. IMHO, it’s merely a matter of time  by a parent, student or pupil. Anyone willing to bet that SBR will claim ignorance and shirk its responsibilities when – not if – far more serious cases of bullying (or worse) take place?


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