Solo, C Java (ANTARA) - Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy here, Friday, has barred school principals from expelling student protesters that partook in rallies in Jakarta and other parts of the cities in Indonesia during the Sept 19-30 period.

"For the school principals, do not expel the students or punish them with sanctions that have no educational purpose," Effendy remarked after launching two school buildings owned by Muhammadiyah, one of the largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia, in Solo City, Central Java Province.

After the receipt of several reports of students being expelled owing to the rally, the minister will oversee the sanctions imposed by the school principals.

Related news: Higher education ministry contacts rectors over student protests "We will review the sanctions. The point that I would like to make is no schools are allowed to arbitrarily punish student protesters," he stated.

Rather than taking punitive action against young protesters, the minister recommended the schools to offer a trauma healing service for the students.

"We understand that everyone, including young protesters, has the right to express his/her opinions in public and joint rallies. However, our standpoint is not only human rights, but we also need to make them understand that there are risks of joining the rally," the minister remarked.

In connection with the recent protests, the minister warned parents and schools to maintain close supervision and oversee their children, as joining the rally might be perilous to their lives.

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"If the rally is dangerous, the parents and schools must restrict the students from participating in it. If they let the children join the rally, the parents and schools may be sanctioned in accordance with the Law of Child Protection," Effendy stated.

The minister suggested student protesters to start an event to fulfill their rights to express opinions in public rather than join the rally launched by college students, labor unions, journalists, and other civil society groups.

During the Sept 19-30 period, several rallies were staged by thousands of people, including student protesters, in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and other parts of the cities in Indonesia. The rallies then snowballed into clashes between the protesters and police officers, thereby resulting in the detention of no less than dozens of student protesters and the expulsion of some from schools.

The rallies were part of the protest against some controversial bills, including the new penal code bill.


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Translator: Aris Wasita, Genta Tenri Mawan
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
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