Schools in Malaysia used to be safe

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A need to equip our children with personal safety skill, even in schools.

Back in the days, there were no security guards in schools and it was generally safe. Not even in the international school I was in. I remember when my mum use to pick me up late from school. Times were difficult and she was trying to make ends meet by working longer hours to pay for my term fees in school.
We just had a penjaga, or a caretaker named Hussein. It was always me and him around the car porch area while I waited. But it wasn’t like he sat with me during the wait: he went about his duties near-ish.
In hindsight, if anyone had targeted me, they could have easily made off with me. Both gates: entrance and exit remains open, although Hussein closes one side of each gate. I guess being a poor kid in a rich man’s school does have its perks.
No way you can do this today. Times are bad, and people are more desperate, have lesser morals. There are no checks at entrance ways to school. Even when I went to secondary school, entrances were not maned. Flashers were common, random people could easily walk in.
credit: theheatmalaysia - A screenshot of the CCTV recording which shows a teacher walking past as the victim follows the stranger in the school compound in Dungun.

credit: theheatmalaysia – A screenshot of the CCTV recording which shows a teacher walking past as the victim follows the stranger in the school compound in Dungun.

A footage of the school’s closed-circuit television camera showed that the girl was approached by an unidentified man who asked her to go to the store, but when she refused to go inside, the man allegedly carried her when she screamed and he ran away.

Last year in Alor Setar there was also a failed attempt where a stranger tried to pick up a student from a Sungai Petani primary school.

Hiring of Security Guards

The hiring of security guards for national schools lie with the state education department. If the school finds the security guards inappropriate, it is difficult to change them. Some PTAs make a point to hire extra security guards at their own costs but for PTAs of schools that are not strong, they are at the mercy of the state education department.
The ministry had made it all worse last year when it delayed payment for some 40,000 security guards  in about 12,000 schools from some 160 companies by 10 months.

Teach a New Message

If we really are at the mercy of the state education department when it comes to the hiring of security companies for schools, then we must be vigilant at teaching and reminding our children basic personal safety.

Sure, we use to teach stranger danger before this but this could deter your child from asking helpful strangers for assistance when they really need it. Instead try this:

  • Say: You should not approach just anyone. If you need help, look for a uniformed police officer, a store clerk with a nametag, or a parent with children. Don’t say: Stay away from people you don’t know.
  • Say: It’s important for you to get my permission before going anywhere with anyone. Don’t say: You can tell someone is bad just by looking at them.
  • Say: Pay attention to what people do. Tell me right away if anyone asks you to keep a secret, makes you feel uncomfortable, or tries to get you to go with them.

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Role play, role play, role play. Practice the skills often to help your kids be better prepared to respond in an emergency.

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