Bayu Marhaenjati & Lenny Tristia Tambun
The Jakarta Police will question nine witnesses following a report that four students of Seruni Don Bosco Senior High School (SMA Seruni Don Bosco) were bullied by their seniors.
“We have questioned four victims and two teachers,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Saturday. “On Monday and Tuesday next week, we will quiz nine people who allegedly know of or are involved in the abuse.”
Only one of the four students reported the case to police. The student, with the initials A.S., told police that he and the other three peers were hit and burned with lit cigarettes by 18 senior students during a school orientation.
A medical examination found that the students, all 15 years old, suffered burns and bruises on their arms and legs.
“It was done during orientation time for new students,” Rikwanto said. “The senior students had extra activities for them, taking them out and abusing them. But we have not seen a motive such as revenge.” He added that there was no indication the case involved a tradition of hazing at the school.
Rikwanto said regardless of whether the alleged perpetrators were minors, the police would continue to process the case.
“There has been someone [who] reported it, meaning someone suffering loss,” he said. “In this case, there has been a joint attack. If it is proven, they will be charged with Article 170 on joint attack. But we would not eliminate their rights as children. They will be accompanied by their parents and the National Commission for Child Protection [Komnas Anak].”
Under the article, the longest sanction they could face if found guilty is seven years in prison.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said on Friday that he had instructed the head of the Jakarta Education Agency to investigate the case. He said based on the findings, he would mull the appropriate sanction for both the school and the students alleged to have committed the violence.
“Don’t do violence,” he said. “School orientation should be oriented toward educational activities. Therefore the role of the teacher is really significant during the orientation. Teachers at school should not only teach, but also educate, both morality and spirituality.”
Gerardus Gantur, the school’s deputy headmaster, denied that the bullying was done during school orientation, insisting it took place afterward, on July 24.
“It did not happen during school orientation,” he said, as quoted by tempo.co.
According to Gerardus, the four students were taken by the older students to a hangout site behind Bank Central Asia’s Pondok Indah branch. The senior students asked the new students questions and they were slapped, hit and burned with cigarettes.
The education manager of Don Bosco said the students involved in the case might be expelled.
“We have a regulation here that if students are indicated to be involved in narcotics and crime, moreover if the police have named them as suspects, they will be discharged,” he said, as quoted by beritajakarta.com