SERI ISKANDAR: AS a healthcare personnel who had tended to victims who had been severely injured by school peers, a forensics doctor feared the worst when her first-born called her from his boarding school past 2am, choking on his words.
He was barely audible, but the mother of four sensed that her son was in desperate need of help.
When she finally learnt that her son had just been beaten up by more than 20 seniors, the doctor and her husband immediately drove 250km to Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Parit in Perak.
The words of her son were ringing in her ears. He was a perfectly healthy teenager, but was having trouble breathing after an intense, three-hour assault.
The sight of her son lying on the bed at his hostel with a bloodied face and bruises and scratches all over his body just didn’t make sense to her, more so that it was allegedly triggered by her son’s refusal to lend one of the assailants his football boots.
She now wants justice for her son and his five friends who were ganged up on by their seniors, although her’s took the brunt of the beatings.
She said her 14-year-old took a kick to the neck and several hits to his back.
A police report lodged on the incident the next day detailed how he was punched, spat on and had his head banged against the wall.
The boy was also forced to drink hot water and had his face held under a running tap.
His bullies later allegedly forced him to take a shower after the beating and tried to take away his handphone so that the matter would not escalate.
The teenager’s ordeal only ended when one of the bullies sensed that the warden would be making his rounds at the “crime scene”. One of the students had supposedly called the warden alerting him of the beating.
The New Straits Times met the doctor recently at Ampang Hospital where she had taken her son for a psychological evaluation.
She had established that he suffered a fractured left rib, injuries to the head, back and stomach as well as bruises to the chest.
“My son told me that the perpetrators covered his head with a prayer mat before hitting his head with a blunt object.”
She shuddered at the thought of the worst happening to her son if that call wasn’t made.
“I was so worried when I found out about him... As a doctor, I have seen many bullying cases and I know how bad it can be.
“I feared the worst,” she told the NST as she rushed to her next stop that day — the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) office to highlight the assault on her son.
Yesterday, the district’s police chief, Superintendent Mohamad Zainal Abdullah, at a press conference, said police were investigating the case.
He confirmed that all six victims lodged a report on May 6.
The assailants were suspended between May 7 and May 15, but had been allowed to sit for their mid-year exams in between.
“We hope the parents can give us time to investigate the case as there is nothing to hide,” he told reporters at the Perak Tengah district police headquarters yesterday.
Police, he said, had also recorded the statements from the bullies to assist investigations, and the case was being investigated under Section 147 of the Penal Code for rioting.
The doctor told the NST that she had gone to the school the next day to pursue the case and was initially surprised that while the beating took place in the presence of almost all the school’s Form 2 students, none of them dared to step forward.
After convincing them and their parents that no good would come out of burying the incident, the story that unfolded revealed that five of her son’s friends, who had tried to protect him from the bullies, were also allegedly beaten up.
The doctor alleged that some of the bullies also beat up one of them for having alerted the school on May 5 that one of the bullies had been smoking.
She said it was time to put a stop to bullying in schools, including boarding schools, and that bullies must be removed and separated from their “gangs” to ensure the safety of the other students.
The doctor alleged that some of her son’s assailants had previous records with the school and had been recommended for expulsion. Some, she added, had police records.
MRSM Parit, when contacted, directed the NST to seek comments from Mara instead.
Its deputy director (education), Mohamad Roseli Dol, in a statement, said the hostel warden and teachers went to the scene as soon as they were alerted to it.
“On May 7, the College Discipline Committee met and decided that the students involved would be put through a ‘cooling off period’ for a week (from May 7 to 15).
“As the case is being investigated by the police, any further action will be taken after we have received the full report of the incident,” he said, adding that Mara would cooperate with the police.
The NST was, however, made to understand yesterday that the “suspension” had been extended to May 22.
The doctor is now forced to move her son to another school as he continued to experience panic attacks and anxiety at the idea of returning to the school.
“He started panicking when we wanted to send him back early this week... He told me that he did not want to set foot in the school ever again.”