We’ve seen numerous stories about both teachers abusing students and students attacking teachers, which is indicative of a larger culture of violence within Indonesian schools (another example being large scale and sometimes deadly brawls that take place between gangs from different schools).
But until today, we’ve never seen a video in which a teacher hit a student with such cold and calculated brutality.
The above video was taken in a classroom at the Kesantrian Vocational High School (SMK) in the town of Purwokerto, Central Java. According to the school’s account, the incident took place recently during the morning Computer Network Engineering class of a teacher identified by his initials LK. A student, identified as L, entered the class late so LK told him to stand in front of his peers to receive his punishment.
As can be seen in the video, LK creepily brushes the side of L’s face with his hand a few times before pulling back to deliver what looks like an incredibly vicious slap.
The school’s vice principal of student affairs, Inayah Rahmawati, said the teacher’s anger was due to L’s consistently bad behavior over the last year including skipping his tasks, which caused the teacher’s anger to explode.
Although the school said his actions were regrettable, Inayah said that the problem had already been solved through mediation and LK had been given “guidance”.
However, as outrage over the short clip grew as it grew more viral on social media, the Banyumas Police got involved and learned of 8 other students who were reportedly also assaulted by LK.
It’s unclear when exactly the below recording was made but at some point LK realized there was the potential for the slap video to go viral and so he made his own video to “clarify” his actions (and presumably get himself out of legal trouble).
In the 5-minute video, LK admits to hitting several of his students (who he says were his “victims”) and even says that he hit them on purpose and with clear intention.
LK then goes around asking the students, “Do you feel like I intimidate you?” Big surprise, they tell him “No, sir.”
The teacher then tells the students that if any of them hold a grudge against him they are free to take revenge by slapping him back right there. When none of them take him up on his offer, he says they are free to do so at some other time in the future and he won’t dodge their attacks.
He then says that what he did was just done so that the pain could serve as a reminder to his students for them not to misbehave anymore. He ends by asking the students if they forgive him, to which they (again, big surprise) reply that they do.
Saying that mutual forgiveness has been given by all parties, LK adds that he hopes that the parents of his students can understand why his corporal punishment is acceptable to his students as it should be to them.
“I hope the parents of these children understand why I did it and I think these kids are able to explain to their fathers and mothers and give them a better understanding,” he concludes.
Of course, several of the alleged victim’s parents have filed reports with the police, which authorities said they’re still investigating. However, they also said that LK was detained for his own safety yesterday after a number of local ormas (civil society groups) were angered by the video.
As brutal as LK’s slap may have looked, it’s arguably not even the worst punishment from a teacher we’ve seen this year. Just last month, a Cempedak Lobang village, North Sumatra, ordered an elementary student to lick an absolutely disgusting toilet several times as punishment for forgetting their homework, causing the child to vomit.