Malaysian Strife and Jaylens Challenge: A Fight for School Safety
“No matter what people say, words and ideas can change the world” -Robin Williams. These words closely resemble to what some students in Malaysia and in the U.S. are doing to fight against the unsafe factors of school such as bullying and sexual harrassment. What kind of an influence did they have? What challenges did they have to face? Do their efforts have the potential to succeed? Here with information on movements begun by young students that have had an influence on schooling is Perspectoverse’s Su’ad Shasmeen.
#Makeschoolasaferplace: Movement Against Sexual Harassment in Schools
Ain Husniza Saiful nizam, a seventeen-year-old Malaysian teen, recorded a TikTok video on April 23rd, 2021 stating how a male teacher allegedly joked about sexual assault during a physical education lesson at school. In the video she claimed that the teacher said, “If you want to rape someone, don’t rape those under 18, rape those above 18.” and that the boys in her classroom were laughing. He had also allegedly said, “If boys become victims of rape, it will not go reported because it feels ‘sedap’ (pleasurable) to them.” She claimed that she had gone to her school’s counsellor to report the issue only to be told that this was “normal”.
Her TikTok video went viral, and she started the #makeschoolasaferplace movement, which sparked debates over school safety. Thousands of students also shared their personal stories of harassment. However, with all of the praise she received she was also threatened and mocked by her classmates and part of the public for speaking out.. According to an article from New Delhi Television (NDTV), she said,
"When I spoke out about it, (I got so much) hate towards me and I don't know why," she told Agence France-Presse (AFP). "It's just making schools a safer place. What is there to debate about?”
The teacher filed a defamation suit against her, however she has decided to countersue for intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Despite these challenges, her determination to challenge widespread mistreatment of students in Malaysia's education system has only become stronger.
This issue is not just happening in Malaysia, According to the Charity Plan International UK, 58% of girls aged 14 to 21 in the United Kingdom have been sexually harassed in a public setting at school and 66% of those girls were harassed by someone from their educational institution. In Uganda, the numbers for sexual physical contact initiated by a peer or teacher for boys and girls are indisputably high. The percentage of boys who have experienced sexual touching perpetrated by classmates are 4% in Honduras and Nigeria, girls in Uganda by 5.4% and Malawi (3.8%). It is safe to say that this problem extends all around the world.
Jaylens Challenge Foundation: Bullying No Way!
Bullying is also a common issue in schools globally, in fact according to stopbullying.gov in America,
“About 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide”
A survivor of this saddening trend, Jaylen Arnold is no stranger to being bullied. He was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, followed by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at age 4, and Asperger’s syndrome at age 8. Because he was different from the rest of the crowd, he was bullied at school and witnessed his friends getting bullied, as well. Motivated to make a difference,he decided to create the Jaylens Challenge Foundation Inc., a foundation that promotes awareness and the prevention of bullying. The foundation is internationally recognized and has been featured by networks such as Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Fox Television Stations, Cable News Network (CNN), and even Nickelodeon. Through this foundation, he has changed many lives and has inspired people to overcome the damaging effects of bullying.
“With YOUR help, we can all make a huge difference to a global problem.” -JaylensChallenge.org
People often believe that there is nothing we can do about the world's issues. We often accept them as part of the grand old world and move on with our day. Regardless, every once in a while, society ceases its turning wheels to stand and gawk at examples like these. They show us that no matter how dire the circumstances may seem, where there is a will, there is a way. School is crucial to the development of kids. Therefore, school safety should never be compromised or overlooked because the youth of the present is also our future. Unfortunately, there are still many obstacles to overcome in order to prevent bullying and sexual harassment in schools, but how will we overcome those obstacles if people continue to bury their heads in the sand? The longer we ignore these issues, the worse they become.