KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has urged the Minister of Education to take action against the teacher who verbally abused his female student through the use of inappropriate and obscene language.
Its Children’s Commissioner, Professor Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said action must also be taken against teachers who interfered with the activities of the particular student who was brave enough to defend the rights of children.
“Teachers must respect the rights of children and treat them with dignity at all times,” she said in a statement yesterday.
Noor Aziah’s statement was in reference to the issue of a teenage female student who, through the TikTok application, claimed that a male teacher had made a joke about rape in class while discussing the issue of sexual harassment during a physical education and health lesson at her school.
Noor Aziah said Suhakam was worried about the latest report on the bad behaviour of some teachers, which has tarnished the image of the profession.
She also slammed the behaviour of the teacher in sexually harassing the student activist on social media by using foul language and body-shaming her as well as the toxic culture among teachers who protect each other when there are complaints lodged against them.
She said teachers were role models and must realise that their action, or the lack of it, will affect the lives of their students for years to come.
Teachers play an important role in realising the vision of the Education Act 1996, which aims to develop the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner to create a balanced and harmonious human being intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically based on faith and obedience to God, said Noor Aziah.
She also reminded and stressed that schools must be made a safe place for children.
More mechanisms should be planned and implemented so that children can enjoy their time studying, get a beneficial and healthy education that will last a lifetime, she said.
Noor Aziah reiterated that the functions of schools, teacher training and the education system must be reviewed until the vision of the Education Act and also the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) can be achieved.