Schools have system in place to support safe learning

We thank the writers for their letters ("Pay heed to cyber bullying among youth" by Ms Teo Leng Lee ; last Friday and "Don't let 'get tough on bullying' be mere slogan" by Mr Ng Qi Siang; last Thursday, as well as "Untangling the issues underlying bullying" by Mr Leon Koh Wee Kiat, last Thursday, and "Empower teachers to better deal with bullying" by Ms Maria Loh Mun Foong, last Wednesday; both published in Forum Online).

The Ministry of Education (MOE) and our schools are committed to high standards of discipline.

We do not tolerate bullying in any form, and schools have in place a system and measures to support a safe, conducive learning environment.

Schools will take action to investigate all reported cases.

Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against students who commit the act of bullying.

Schools also help all students involved learn from the incident.

In cases where a student does not respond to remediation such as counselling, other disciplinary actions such as caning and suspension will be taken.

Schools will also inform and engage parents to get their support to counsel their children.

Teachers are equipped with relevant knowledge and skills through classroom management training where case studies and specific intervention strategies are discussed.

Such training is core in all teacher preparation programmes.

Teachers have the responsibility to maintain discipline in the classrooms and deal with bullying.

They are further supported by their heads of department, year heads, school leaders and school counsellors.

Students may from time to time make mistakes in the process of growing up.

Schools will teach, educate, discipline and counsel them with the goal of enabling them to learn from their mistakes, and support them as they strive to become better persons.

These students also need the support of parents and the community.

Our schools educate students on bullying through formal curriculum and school-based programmes.

Students are taught help-seeking skills, how to manage themselves and build good relationships with others.

Students are also taught that they have the responsibility as bystanders to speak up and support their peers who are bullied.

Despite the teachers' best efforts, not every case of bullying can be identified, and action can only be taken when the case is reported.

Parents can help by alerting the school when they notice something amiss in their child's behaviour at home.

On the bullying case in Shuqun Secondary School, the school has disciplined and counselled the students involved, met their parents, and spoken to the class to help all parties reconcile.

The boys need space away from the public glare to move on. The school and parents are working together to support them.

Low Khah Gek (Ms)
Deputy Director-General of Education (Schools) and Director of Schools
Ministry of Education

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2015, with the headline 'Schools have system in place to support safe learning'. Print Edition | Subscribe