PETALING JAYA: Niza Sharifudin, mother of 17-year-old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, has come out to show her support and trust in her daughter’s endeavour to make schools a safer place for students.
Appearing in a Mothers’ Day forum organised by Khadijah Learning Centre with her daughter, Niza admitted that she was not as brave as Ain or her father, Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab, in speaking out over the issue.
The mother of five said she had been constantly worried about her daughter’s safety, particularly after she received rape threats from her own classmate.
“But what’s wrong is wrong. I believe in her and support her,” she said, adding that what Ain faced was something the larger community needed to be aware was happening in schools today.
Niza maintained that schools should be a safe place for children as parents had entrusted their offspring to the people taking care of them there.
Ain’s TikTok video detailing inappropriate rape jokes made by a teacher had gone viral and led other students and former pupils to speak out over their own experiences in school, with the hashtag #MakeSchoolASaferPlace trending on social media.
It was later reported that Ain received a rape threat from a male classmate, which her father reported to the police. The student later apologised for making the threat, and Ain’s father was said to have accepted the apology.
Recently, she was reported to have been issued a warning letter for skipping school for a few days despite her father meeting the school authorities to explain that his daughter did not feel safe in school.
It was reported that Ain could be expelled if she continues to be absent from school without notifying the school of her reasons.
At the forum, Ain said the #MakeSchoolASaferPlace simply started out as a desire for schools to become a safer environment for students to voice their opinions and problems to teachers.
While noting that many students her age and younger have come out in support of this movement, she expressed disappointment that the education ministry had yet to respond in any way.
On some of the backlash she has received from certain quarters, she said this just made her more passionate about the cause.
“When I see other students and girls telling me that they went through the same thing and didn’t get justice, it makes me think that this is such a big issue, and we need to end it now.”
She also advised youths like her to stay open to criticisms even as they championed causes, saying they needed to be open to input.
“When faced with injustice, call them out but don’t put yourself in a box where you can’t take criticisms.
“We want to make sure what’s wrong is made right. And sometimes it’s not a clear-cut answer, sometimes it takes experience and time.”