(YEAR END NOTE 2010)
Although child abuse in school had existed at all levels of education since long time ago, it was not until these last two years that parents and students in Nias Island began to report cases of child abuse in school to police. However, this caused controversy within Nias people. Even, abused children whose case was reported to police had to face the ‘dictatorship’ of school which expelled them from the school. Meanwhile, Board of Education very often closed their eyes and tended to ignore the abuse and dictatorship in school. Therefore, children’s fundamental right to high quality education was only a dream.
It is a fact that the number of child abuse in Nias Island is very high. Various forms of abuses threaten children in the island.
The number of cases of child abuse increased from 42 cases in 2009 to 59 cases in 2010. Most of the victims were girls. They were victims of both sexual and physical abuses. Some of them caused disability and even death. Many of these cases occurred in school, at home and in orphanage which should be a safe place for children.
Child Abuse in School: Teaching or Torturing?
On Monday, 20 December 2010, the Head of Women’s and Children’s Protection Unit of the Resort Police of Nias officially requested PKPA-Nias to become an expert witness for a case of child abuse in school. The case started when one of parents reported a teacher in a senior high school in Gunung Sitoli to police after slapping his son on his cheek which caused a bruise. According to the victim-witness, he was slapped by his teacher after refusing his teacher’s allegation that he started the quarrel. Since the two boys who were involved in the fight blamed on each other, the teacher got angry and slapped them on their face. Then, his parent reported the case to police. In response to this, the school expelled the student from the school. This, of course, made the family got very angry and asked police to deal with the case.
Then, police handling the case invited two expert witnesses; one from Board of Education and the other one from PKPA to help them handle the case. According to the expert witness from Board of Education, what had been done by the teacher was not an abuse but guidance based on his or her authority. This is in line with Article 39 of Government Regulation No. 74 Year 2008 on Teachers stipulating that:
(1) Teachers shall have freedom to give sanction to their students who violate religious, decency and politeness norms, written and non written regulation made by teachers, regulation at educational unit level, and laws and regulations during teaching process under his or her authority.
(2) Sanction as referred to in Section (1) above shall be take the form of notice/or warning, orally or in writing, and educative punishment based on educational principle, code of ethics for teachers and laws and regulations.
Meanwhile, PKPA-Nias which was represented by Misran Lubis explained the followings to police:
1) Government Regulation No. 74 Year 2008 on Teachers and other laws do not give teachers any authority to any physical abuse and other forms of abuse. Teachers and all people in educational institution had to fully understand Article 39 of Government Regulation No. 74 Year 2008 on Teachers. It clearly stipulates that “Sanction as referred to in Section (1) above shall be take the form of notice/or warning, orally or in writing, and educative punishment based on educational principle, code of ethics for teachers and laws and regulations.”
2) Any action taken by teachers had to refer to other laws and regulations. It was clear that abuse perpetrated by teachers violated educational principle, code of ethics for teachers and laws. One of the examples is Law on Child Protection, especially Articles 54 and 80.
a) Article 54 of Law on Child Protection stipulates “Children attending school must be protected against violence and abuse from teachers, school managers, and schoolmates both in the schools and in other educational institutions.”
b) Article 80 (1) of Law on Child Protection stipulates “Every person who commits an act of violence or threatens violence against, or tortures a child, shall be subject to a term of imprisonment of not more than three (3) years and six (6) months, and/or a maximum fine of seventy-two million rupiah (Rp 72,000,000).”
Since Article 80(1) of Law on Child Protection uses the words “Every person”, it means that the provision applies to all people, both personally or in group and corporation, without any exception. There is no provision or law that justifies abuse against anyone wherever he or she is, including in school.
In a nutshell, teachers in Indonesia must change their teaching method and paradigm. Abuse is not one of teaching methods. There are still many other methods that can be applied to pass educational messages to the future generation because abuse only will create grudge and another abuse. National agenda to create a child-friendly school is not merely a jargon but a model that can be used to build a peace-loving nation character. This approach will allow children to grow and develop optimally.
Government and relevant stakeholders need to take a concrete action to deal with complicated child issues in Nias Island through policy making and budget allocation to improve child protection, promote child-friendly school and raise public awareness of the rights of the child. Children’s fundamental rights to education, health, friendly environment, growth and development, participation in development, free of all forms of abuse and exploitation are not a gift but rights that adhere to them even before birth. Therefore, these rights must be respected and protected until they become an adult.
Misran Lubis and