This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.
Indonesia, like other Southeast Asian countries, has a hazing problem. Toxic seniority in schools and universities has led to students being humiliated, badly injured, and tortured, which has resulted in multiple deaths.
At the Catholic seminary school Mother of All Nations in East Nusa Tenggara Province, a group of senior students took their schoolyard power politics game about a hundred steps too far by forcing 77 year seven students, mostly around 12 years old, to eat human feces.
An unnamed senior allegedly found a plastic bag filled with feces in the year seven students’ locker room on February 19, then demanded to know which year seven student had put it there. When he didn’t receive an answer, he grabbed a spoon and force-fed it to the entire class of year sevens.
“We just gave in and accepted it. It was disgusting, but we were unable to resist,” said one student, who did not report the hazers out of fear of retaliation. The seniors had warned the group of year sevens to keep quiet.
One student, however, did report the bullies. He ran home from the dormitory and explained everything to his parents, who then demanded the school take responsibility.
“The school must take drastic action against the perpetrator. Expel him if necessary,” Martinus, a parent of one of the bullied students, told local media. “I have removed my child from this school. They will have a fresh start at a new school.”
The feces, it turned out, belonged to a year seven student who could not make it to a restroom in time to relieve himself. Out of options, he used a plastic bag.
“After they found [the bag of feces], the seniors gathered us and forced us to eat it,” Arnold*, one of the students, told local media. He also said the seventh graders had previously been physically abused by the seniors, but they were too scared to report it.
Father Deodatus Du’u, a priest who is the head of the Mother of All Nations Seminary, shockingly justified the actions of the older students, downplaying the severity of the act.
“The term ‘eat’ used by the media is inaccurate. What actually happened was one of the seniors touched a feces-filled spoon to the lips and tongues of the year seven students,” Du’u said.
Du’u said the seminary had issued an apology to parents regarding the incident. The two students responsible for the incident have been expelled.
Retno Listyarti, Commissioner of the Indonesian Children’s Protection Commission (KPAI), said that she will coordinate with the region’s Department of Education and Ministry of Religion, since the incident took place at a religious school. Listyarti said the bullies may even get into legal trouble under child protection laws.
“The KPAI expresses its concern for the 77 students who were forced to eat feces,” Listyarti told local media. "The KPAI urges the victims' parents to make this a police matter."
*Name has been changed.