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School CP - October 1998


The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 15 October 1998

Group: Appoint discipline teachers

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) has proposed that full-time discipline teachers be appointed to monitor activities of students at schools.

Its vice-chairman Datuk Lee Lam Thye said that discipline teachers would be hesitant to agree to a proposal to have auxiliary police powers if they were still burdened by their heavy teaching responsibilities.

"A discipline teacher also has to conduct classes like everyone else. Such dual roles hamper him from fully concentrating on monitoring students.

"And I hope the Education Ministry will allocate a bigger budget to allow these teachers to be appointed," said Lee in an interview.

Such discipline teachers should wear police uniform to display the imposing presence of law and order, besides sending a strong message to errant students to toe the line, he said.

Lee was commenting on Education Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's statement on Tuesday that discipline teachers be accorded auxiliary police powers.

Lee said that such a proposal "merits consideration" and supported the move by Najib to discuss the issue with various groups such as the police, teachers and parents to get feedback on the proposal.

"Such a move cannot be implemented unilaterally. It is necessary to know how these groups feel about the matter so there will be full backing for the proposal," he said.

He said that discussions would enable a proper framework on the extent of powers to be given so as to prevent teachers from getting hurt or being sued by parents.

"If the teacher fears he may be assaulted by students, the police should be called in," he said, adding that discipline teachers should deal with matters such as students smoking in schools.

Lee hoped that parents would co-operate with attempts to discipline their children and not be overzealous in defending their wrongful acts.

"If a student is caned for bad behaviour, parents must understand that it was done to discipline him.

"They should not issue complaints against the teacher," he said, stressing, however, that framework was important to ensure discipline teachers did not abuse their powers.

Lee said that the family and community also played an important part in shaping a child's future.

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