Teachers warned against corporal punishment

MANILA, August 12, 2016 (Bicol Standard) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) has issued an official statement on the incidents of student punishment in two schools in the Bicol region.

"On August 3 (Wednesday), the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office received a formal report of an incident at Zeferino Arroyo High School in Iriga City—where a teacher/Citizen’s Army Training (CAT) facilitator hit a Grade 10 student, supposedly when the latter behaved defiantly after being reprimanded by the teacher and mocked by his peers.

In a separate incident on August 5 (Friday), a video showing a student made to kneel outside the classroom, exposed to the morning heat, went viral on social media. This was supposedly a punishment for coming to class late and lying about being a member of the day’s assigned classroom cleaners."

Said incident occurred at San Isidro National High School in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

It added: "All parties in both incidents have thus been heard, and the teachers have expressed remorse.

While the DepEd is one with the belief that education should also instill and reinforce the values of respect, responsibility, and discipline—it does not, without reservations, condone any act of violence or abuse in the conduct thereof.

The DepEd would like to reiterate that even though teachers and school administrators hold authority over students, they are also responsible for their welfare and protection. This is reiterated by the DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012 (Policy And Guidelines On Protecting Children In School From Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Discrimination, Bullying And Other Forms Of Abuse). This is likewise mandated by Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.

It is also disheartening that one of the mentioned incidents happened during a CAT class, a subject where a student is supposed to learn a sense of community, social responsibility, and respect for the rights of citizens. Furthermore, the DepED would like to reiterate that no form of humiliation or emotional abuse is deemed necessary or justifiable, even if done with the intention of teaching responsibility.

The DepEd enjoins all teachers and school administrators to always uphold the rights and welfare of the students. Let it be remembered that children learn best by doing and that during the years they spend in school, they are most heavily influenced by authority figures. As such, no excuses should ever be made for corporal punishment and similar actions."