Government takes on brawling students
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Potrait of grief: Endang Puji holds a picture of her slain son, Alawy Yusianto Putra, during his burial procession at the Poncol public cemetery in Tangerang, Banten, on Tuesday. Alawy was allegedly killed by a student of SMA 70 state high school in South Jakarta while he was having lunch nearby. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
The death of 15-year-old Alawy Yusianto Putra, victim of the everlasting enmity between two neighboring schools, not only brought tears to the eyes of many, but also brings hope for an end to fatal student brawls, as the government took matters into its hands.
Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh said on Tuesday that Alawy would be the last victim of student brawls throughout the country and that the government would take all necessary measures to prevent further clashes.
“We are sorry that violence is still rampant at schools. We are determined to make this case the very last of these brawls ever, and to transform these two schools into harmonious, top-quality neighborhood schools,” Nuh told a press conference with Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and the principals and the two school committee heads of SMA 6 and SMA 70 state high schools in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.
Alawy, a first-year student of SMA 6, and 14 others were attacked on Monday while they had lunch by a group of SMA 70 students armed with sickles and bamboo sticks. Alawy was stabbed in the chest, while three of his friends sustained minor injuries.
The police named FR, a third-year SMA 70 student, as a suspect in the death of Alawy. “He was the one who stabbed Alawy,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said late on Tuesday, adding that the suspect was still at large.
FR may face charges of forceful attack with the intent to inflict harm, murder and fatal assault under Criminal Code’s Articles 170, 338 and 351. He may spend up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.
Nuh urged the principals and school committees to engage in deeper cooperation and bring the two institutions into accord, saying that ending the long brawling history of the schools was the ministry’s main focus following the tragedy.
“Sanctions for the schools are not on our agenda for the time being. Sanctions for the students involved in these events are the responsibility of the schools and the police. Reconciliation is our main goal right now.”
Nuh said that the ministry planned to form a team of ministry representatives, school principals and committees, the police, public figures and sociologists to settle any possible problems between rival schools.
“Principals and committees know the students best and have the responsibility to educate them to steer clear of these fights. We will support any efforts to bring these altercations to an end,” Fauzi said.
SMA 6 principal Kadarwati Mardiutama and SMA 70 principal Saksono Liliek Susanto claimed that the two schools had made various efforts to bring an end to the schools’ custom of fighting, such as joint marching practices, science practicals, band practices and joint fast-breaking events during fasting month.
“The problem is that the students regard these fights as a tradition to be upheld. A tradition should be something positive,” Kadarwati said. “We want the recent tragedy to be the last and change that mind-set for good.”
The two schools were closed on Tuesday to mourn the loss of Alawy. The burial, attended by hundreds of schoolmates and the minister’s deputy Muliar Kasim, was held in Kampung Poncol public cemetery in Tangerang, west of Jakarta.