Bullies may be ‘sentenced’ to boot camp

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The government said three professionals are likely to be hired as part of the process to determine how to deal with bullies in schools, to ensure the undesirable behaviours are curbed.

According to a statement from Cabinet, the specialists would be two psychologists and a psychiatrist who would “work with those who pose a problem in school to other students, and those who are expelled”.

This promise comes after the recent expulsion of two male students who were recorded on video bullying another classmate by placing the electrical cord from a fan around his neck.

The investigation into that incident continues as the Ministry of Education said action would also be taken against the students who were laughing in the video that has been widely shared on several social media platforms.

The Cabinet said it decided that the hiring of the professionals would be necessary along with “a Boot Camp of sorts” which can “be established to ensure that treatment of the troubled youth can commence immediately after expulsion.”

According to the post-Cabinet press statement Wednesday night, there is a fear that when troubled students are expelled, they “may later become a challenge for the society”.

It said the discussion on the matter was a “vigorous” one and consideration was given to the fact that “the law requires continuing formal education until age 16 years; hence, any boy or girl younger than 16 years must continue to receive formal education”.

The Cabinet statement added that it was agreed many of the troubled students “can be trained to procure building skills, including plumbing, carpentry, masonry, electrical and tiling, auto mechanical repair and other kinds of skills that can be strengthened in a very short period. Construction is now booming and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

To ensure the goal of addressing the problem with the troubled youth is met, the Cabinet said it was decided that “the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social transformation and the Ministry of Education will work together to minimise whatever negative impacts the difficult students may inflict.”

After the two boys were expelled for bullying their peer, residents reacted. Many supported the punishment, while others pointed out that the teenagers should not be signed off and barred from formal education.

They suggested alternative ways to addressing the problem, citing that children who bully after oftentimes being bullied and that needs to be investigated while they ought to be guided to learn positive behaviour.

Some said if the students are cast aside for their behaviour, they can become menaces to society.

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