Zaky Pawas & Bayu Marhaenjati
Police have agreed to release seven senior high school students pending an investigation into their roles in alleged hazing during an orientation program at a private school in South Jakarta.
Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto, the South Jakarta Police chief, said on Tuesday that the move had been made in an effort to resolve the case through discussions involving the suspects and victims, the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) and the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI).
“We feel that they’ve already learned a valuable lesson from being locked up in jail for two days,” he said. “Through the current dialogue, we’re trying to reach an agreeable resolution on this matter. All sides will be able to express their views during this mediation.”
Sr. Comr. Rikwanto, the Jakarta Police spokesman, said that as part of the discussions, police had agreed not to hold the students in custody, while the school was deciding what punishments to hand out.
The suspects, identified only by their initials, are all 12th-graders at the Don Bosco school in Pondok Indah. They are accused of forcing new students to carry large rocks above their heads, forcing them to drink beer, threatening them at knife-point, beating and kicking them, and burning them with cigarettes.
“Even though the alleged incident occurred outside scheduled school orientation events, it was still done as part of the orientation program,” Rikwanto said.
The school held an assembly on Tuesday in which the students involved in the incident and their parents vowed to bring an end to the culture of bullying and hazing in school.
Gerald Gantur, the school’s head of student affairs, said he hoped that the 12-step declaration signed by the students and parents would help resolve the current scandal and prevent future ones. “We have tried to resolve this problem according to the principles of our institution,” he said.
The declaration includes a formal public apology from the perpetrators to the victims. It also stipulates that the perpetrators may be detained by police for future bullying incidents.
In addition, the culprits have agreed to undergo counseling for 20 days and to take part in a school-wide anti-bullying campaign. In return, the victims are not pressing charges against their attackers.