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June 28, 2017

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Questions about safety in Indonesian schools after sex assault

In the wake of the alleged sexual abuse case at Jakarta International School (JIS) in South Jakarta, Indonesia, where a 6-year-old kindergarten student was supposedly gang raped by several members of the school's cleaning staff, questions have been raised about safety at schools, in particularly at JIS.

Many are concerned because if such an incident could take place at such a heavily fortified and therefore presumably safe environment, it could probably happen in other schools.

Education expert Arief Rachman suggested that JIS should closely monitor any abnormalities in the behavior of its students, so that it could identify potential issues quickly and could therefore offer a solution.

"The school has to be aware of any abnormalities with regards to its students' behavior so that it can recognize problems and subsequently offer assistance in solving it," Arief told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

He added that the school must put more emphasis that its teachers were responsible for the fate of all students inside the school grounds up until they leave the premises.

"The question here is, why wasn't the victim's teacher, or anyone else for that matter, aware of any abnormalities in (the victim's) behavior?" Arief said.

Family psychologist Alissa Wahid said earlier the design of school buildings was a critical factor in ensuring student safety, because the location and accessibility of a place matters as a safety precaution.

"For example, the toilets should be placed and built so that noises coming from the toilet are audible, if, for example, an accident like a slip and fall were to happen," she said.

The rape case was made public on Monday after the victim's mother spoke to the media about her child's alleged gang rape at the hands of at least two cleaning service workers at JIS.

The case also drew criticism against the school's alleged weaknesses in its security and recruitment procedures as well as its alleged lack of action in the case.

In view of reports on Friday that the school allegedly had no license to run its kindergarten, the director for early age education programs at the Education and Culture Ministry, Lydia Freyani Hawadi, said the ministry temporarily closed JIS' kindergarten until further notice.

"The temporary closure of their kindergarten provides JIS with an opportunity to comply with national regulations," Lydia said as quoted by She added that as a result, all of the school's kindergarten students were on holiday until the school obtained its license.

Meanwhile, police have searched the home of one of the detained suspects, Agun Iskandar in Parigi Lama, Pondok Aren, South Tangerang, on Wednesday, and confiscated a flash disk from the suspect's house. To his neighbors, Agun is known as a taciturn individual.

"He and his family never really interacted with the rest of neighborhood," the community head of Agun's neighborhood, Jayadi Tommy said as quoted by

Jayadi also mentioned that Agun had lived in the neighborhood with his wife, who is currently pregnant, for the last two years. Another resident of the neighborhood claimed that Agun rarely interacted with the children living in the area.

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