A former New Straits Times Press branch executive for Sabah, Pachelles Jonuat, claimed that certain sutdents of a school in Sabah are engaged in bullying and gangsterism. Being his former workmate, I reproduced here what Jonuat had told a local daily in Kota Kinabalu.
BARELY days into the new school year, a 15-year-old from a school in Kinarut, near here, has already become a victim of alleged bullying and gangsterism.
And this is not the first time Lester Pachelles, a Form Three student of SMK Kinarut, has had to put up with the antics of these bullies.
His father Pachelles Jonuat, a 52-year old contractor, has made numerous reports since last year to not only the school but also the police (including the latest incident) regarding the matter.
Lester claimed the latest incident happened on Tuesday just after school hours at about 12.40pm when he was beaten up by a Form Four student - who that very day had been expelled from the school - using a belt which left with him with injuries to the left side of his neck.
He claimed he was beaten up by the student while five others stood guard outside the school compound and only stopped when someone shouted at them. He did not know why they had picked on him.
"While the police have been very helpful it is the school that needs to be more proactive in dealing with the matter," said Pachelles, who together with his son came to the Daily Express, Wednesday, to air their grievances.
"I have repeatedly called for a meeting between the school and the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) to discuss how to deal with this issue but none has been held.
"It left me wondering about the functions of the PTA or whether the school is really serious in dealing with the matter," he added.
He suggested the school place a security guard in its premises to prevent such incidents recurring, adding it was not only his son who has become the target of rowdy students.
"Last year, I witnessed these troublemakers picking a fight with other students. When the students tried to run away, they gave chase and only after I intervened did they stop chasing," claimed Pachelles, adding that among the troublemakers involved was the student who had assaulted his son.
"There should also be a security guard stationed at the dispensary near the school as this is the area where most of these fights take place," he said.
Many parents, he said, have also raised the same concerns and wanted the school to do more to prevent such incidents.
He claimed when he met the school's disciplinary teacher, he was told by the teacher that the school could not be held responsible if anything happened to the students after school hours and outside the school.
Pachelles said he felt the school was trying to wash its hands off the matter, adding that even though these incidences may occur after school hours, the school still needs to be responsible since the students were still wearing school uniforms.
"I am not trying to be seen as a champion by going to the media to highlight the matter. I just want to help the school get rid of these negative elements and protect its image but to do so the school and the PTA must sit together to find a solution.
"God knows what weapons these students might use in the future apart from belts. Maybe knives, iron rods, machetesÉI fear for the safety of the students," he said.