SPECIAL REPORT | One week before enrolling in college last June, T Nhaveen died in Penang Hospital after the 18-year-old was violently attacked by a gang of youngsters. However, the violence had actually started when he was in high school.
Nhaveen is undoubtedly not the only victim of school bullying. According to a report by the National Human Rights Society (Hakam), the Education Ministry revealed that there were 2,825 cases of bullying in secondary schools in 2014. The number of cases rose to 2,968 in 2015 and soared to 3,448 in 2016.
Most of the recorded incidents involved physical violence. Cases of bullying could be even higher as some may have gone unreported.
Race, physique, gender expression, sexual orientation and learning disabilities are often the reasons for exclusion and bullying among children.
“There are various reasons which may cause bullying on campus, and some of the reasons seem to be accepted tacitly. This is what we need to think about,” says counsellor Wong Su Zane.
Wong, who has had extensive experience dealing with school bullying cases in her 20-year career, supervises volunteer counsellors in LifeLine Association, an organisation which provides counselling to those in need of support.
Among the various types of school bullying, there are unique social causes and contexts for cases specifically related to gender issues.
Under the influence of a patriarchal society, the bullying of people whose gender expression or sexual orientation are not in congruence with social expectations is more likely to be tolerated, said Wong...