An eighth grader at Islamic Junior High School, SMP IT Nur Hidayah, in Surakarta, Central Java, has been expelled for wishing “happy birthday” to her male peer via a messaging application.
The school, which has received a backlash over this decision, stated that the student’s action was considered “a grave violation”, leading to immediate expulsion.
“I apologise, I’m unable to explain the chronology of the events to protect the student,” said the school’s principal, Zuhdi Yusroni on confirming the student’s expulsion.
Responding to the news, a member of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), Retno Listyarti, said “the school was over-reacting by imposing the sanction on the student.”
Retno added her concerns regarding the student being denied her right to education based on vague grounds, as well as the stigma around the student once she moves to another school.
The school could have provided assistance and education on appropriate interaction with fellow students of the opposite sex, since it was normal for junior high school students aged between 13 and 15 years to begin expressing their attraction toward one another. “Befriending students of the opposite sex, as well as sending them birthday wishes, are integral parts of the transition to being a teenager,” Retno said.
Source: The Jakarta Post