The viral video of a ninth grader rudely accosting and smoking in front of his teacher is not the only clip of student-inflicted violence to be shared widely in Indonesia this past week. Another incident in South Sulawesi saw a school cleaner fall victim to physical abuse by students, as well as one of their parents.
According to reports, Faisal Daeng Pole, a 38-year-old cleaner at a junior high school in the Takalar Regency of South Sulawesi was beaten up by several students at the school, who also mocked him by calling him “anjing” (dog).
Takalar Police Chief Gany Alamsyah confirmed the assault, which happened on Saturday. Gany said Faisal was cleaning the trash outside the classrooms when five students came up and started taunting him.
Angered by their mockery, Faisal slapped one of the students. The student who got slapped, identified by his initial I, went home and told on Faisal to his father, M. Rasul.
“Not long after, the student’s parent came to the victim at school, then proceed to order his son and his three friends to beat him up,” Gany continued.
A video showing Rasul trying to attack Faisal while being held back by a school official has gone viral online.
Nevertheless, the students managed to beat Faisal using brooms with iron handles. The cleaner suffered a gash on the left side of his head from the attack, on top of several other injuries from Rasul’s and the students’ assault.
In an interview with the media, Faisal said this wasn’t the first time the students mocked him for no apparent reason.
The students, who are all seventh graders, are reportedly notorious for being unruly and mischievous. According to the school’s principal, Hamzah, teachers at their school have long complained about their potty mouths and overall lack of discipline, even when being taught in class.
“They also don’t have any achievements at school, they could only boast their mischiefs.”
Four of the five students involved in the attack and Rasul are reportedly still being questioned at the Takalar Police Station. It’s not yet known if the adult would face criminal charges, but the students may be expelled from the school.
“I will return them to their parents. We will give them cover letter to move to other schools,” Hamzah said.
This is far from the first incident of school violence in Indonesia in recent memory. In 2018, an art teacher in Madura, East Java, died after being hit by one of his students. The past few years have also seen stories other stories about students beating teachers and even attacking them with weapons, as well as at least one incident of a student murdering a teacher over bad grades.
Conversely, teacher-on-student violence is also quite prevalent in Indonesia. One of the most viral cases last year took place in April, when a teacher in Purwokerto, Central Java, became a criminal suspect for child abuse after a video of him slapping one of his students hard went viral.