MANILA, Philippines — he Department of Education will soon come out with a more comprehensive child protection policy to shield the child against abuse, exploitation and discrimination including bullying and other forms of violence against children in school.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said school personnel and the public in general must be reminded that corporal punishment and violence in any form is not allowed in public schools whether committed by adults or the children’s peers.
“We reiterate that school personnel who commit such acts are violating the provisions of Batas Pambansa 232 and that they can be held criminally liable including dismissal from the service,” added Luistro.
What is Child Abuse
On the other hand, Republic Act 7610 listed down acts that constitute child abuse and are therefore considered a criminal offense. This includes psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment.
Also included is any act by deeds or words which debase, degrade or demean the worth and dignity of a child; unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival such as food and shelter; as well as failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting to serious impairment of his growth, permanent incapacity or death.
In view of this, DepEd as early as 2006 issued DepEd Memo 297 Prohibiting Acts Constituting Violations of RA 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act and the Family Code to set a limit on the substitute parental authority being exercised by some DepEd authorities.
The order specified that substitute parental authority can only be exercised within the school premises and it shall be exercised only to protect and promote the physical, mental and moral well-being of the students.
To further strengthen the campaign against child abuse in school, DepEd is developing a more comprehensive policy in consultation with teachers and other stakeholders.
“This is a serious matter that we cannot put off nor delay because it involves the over-all well being of our learners which when not addressed promptly may negatively affect them for life,” said Luistro.
The proposed policy will cover measures to prevent abuses against children in the school and the processes to be observed when abuses are committed. It will also include the procedures to follow and possible referral to other concerned agencies.
Meanwhile, DepEd expresses its supports to the anti-bullying bill of Senator Antonio Trillanes which seeks to institutionalize its teaching in schools and the creation of public awareness on its ill-effects on child development.
This is consistent with the mandate of DepEd which puts premium on child safety in schools while providing an environment conducive to learning.
DepEd also believes that addressing the issue on bullying in school cannot be simply addressed by dismissing or suspending the offending child because it requires a more thorough approach that involves both the school and the parents to be able to get to the root of why a child resorts to bullying. Oftentimes, bullying is a manifestation of problems that stem at home.