DepEd reminds schools to enforce anti-bullying policies

By CNN Philippines Staff

A viral video circulating online showing alleged bullying in the Ateneo de Manila University prompted the Department of Education (DepEd) to remind schools about enforcing anti-bullying policies.

“The Department also encourages learners who experience or witness bullying, abuse, or retaliation to speak up and report verified incidents to their peers, parents, teachers, and the appropriate authorities for proper intervention,” DepEd said in a statement Friday.

DepEd cited Department Order No. 40 which institutionalized zero tolerance against violence against children and established the CPC in all public and private schools.

It added information relating to the identity and personal circumstances of the bullies, the victims, or the witnesses shall be treated with utmost confidentiality by the Child Protection Committee (CP)C and the school personnel.

The department also took note of the Implementing Rules and regulations of Republic Act 10627, or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, which requires schools to submit copies of these policies to the district offices.

Should schools fail to do so, private schools may face penalties under the law.

The viral clip in question showed a student allegedly from the Ateneo High School being asked to choose between kissing the shoes of his schoolmate or getting beaten up. When the student refused to comply, the other student then proceeded to kick and beat him up.

Senator Sonny Angara, in a tweet, reminded schools to enforce the Anti-Bullying Law in light of the video.

“Kids and parents have a right to demand that schools provide a safe and nurturing learning environment,” he said.

He added that under the Family Code, schools are legally responsible for kids under their custody.

Malacañang called on school officials to probe the incident.

“I was bothered by what I saw. I think they should investigate first why there was such a one-sided fight,” Presidential Spokesperson Sal Panelo said in a briefing Friday afternoon.

Senators react

Senator Sonny Angara, in a tweet, reminded schools to enforce the Anti-Bullying Law in light of the video.

“Kids and parents have a right to demand that schools provide a safe and nurturing learning environment,” he said.

He added that under the Family Code, schools are legally responsible for kids under their custody.

Meanwhile, Senator Bam Aquino said government must also look into possible incidences of bullying in work spaces.

“Maliban dito, kailangan ding tingnan ang nangyayaring bullying pati sa mga opisina kung saan ang madalas mabiktima ay ang mga kapos at ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan,” the senator said in a statement.

Senator Nancy Binay, however, lamented that the video continues to circulate with netizens shaming the bully.

“We must condemn all forms of bullying. But what’s bothersome, though, is the vicious cycle of bullying. Bullying does not end by bullying the bully. It only worsens the culture of hate,” she said. “Let’s strive to heal even the tormentors, and work for a bully-free society.”

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