Children are in the fragile, formative years of their lives. What surrounds them shapes them.
They look to teachers, parents and other authority figures for guidance and support, but, at times, these authority figures use their powers to manipulate, shame and harass instead.
Whether it is having a bias against a student, being dismissive of a student in need, joining in student bullying or even engaging in direct physical bullying, a number of teachers abuse their power and hurt the students they are supposed to protect.
The students learn that authority figures cannot be trusted and so will not come forward when in need of support. They bottle up their feelings and suffer in silence.
School counsellors, good teachers and parents cannot provide support if the child does not come forward.
But how are children to put their trust in those who could so easily break it?
This builds a distrustful, closed, cynical and stressed generation that will carry such burdens into their working lives.
Many teachers are great at their jobs and go above and beyond their responsibilities.
However, not all teachers do this.
Schools should keep a closer eye on their faculty and be more proactive in helping students report what they witness as well as in taking measures against errant faculty members.
Our school days can be the best or worst days of our lives. We should try to give future generations their best days.
Jonathan Loh Hanxi