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DepEd urges schools to enforce anti-bullying campaign


MANILA -- The Department of Education (DepEd) has reminded public and private schools about the adoption and enforcement of anti-bullying policies.

This, after videos showing a junior high school student of Ateneo de Manila University bullying several boys went viral on Thursday.

In a statement released Friday, the department urged kindergarten, elementary, and secondary public and private schools to implement DepEd Order No. 40 series of 2012 or the Child Protection Policy.

In one video, the high school student attacked a taller student in the bathroom whom he asked to choose between "bugbog o dignidad" (getting a beating or dignity).

"Kasi kung pinili niya ang dignidad, papaluhurin ko siya, tapos hahalikan niya ang pareho kong sapatos, tapos papahalikan ko sa kanya 'yung bayag ko (If he chooses his dignity, I would tell him to kneel, kiss my shoes, and kiss my genitals),” the bully said in the video.

In another video, the same student forces his peer to admit being dumb and to kiss the bully’s shoes so the latter won't receive a beating from him.

The policy institutionalizes zero tolerance against any form of violence against the child and provided for the establishment of a Child Protection Committee (CPC) in all public and private schools.

DepEd also cited DepEd Order No. 55 series of 2013 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10627, otherwise known as the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.

The order requires public and private schools to submit copies of their respective anti-bullying or child protection policies within six months from the effectivity of the IRR to their Division Office.

"The same shall be submitted to the Regional Director in addition to the requirements for an application for permit to operate and/or recognition as prescribed by the existing rules of the Department," the statement read.

DepEd stressed that Rule IV of the order requires a "comprehensive and multi-faceted bullying prevention program", which includes education stakeholders and personnel.

The victims, bullies and other parties involved in or affected by the bullying incident must undergo intervention strategies to enhance their psychological, emotional and psychosocial well-being as provided by the concerned schools.

"Private schools that fail to comply with the requirements of RA 10627 or of the IRR may face penalties under the law," the statement read.

The DepEd also encouraged 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."

It also reiterated that the CPC and school personnel must treat the identity and personal circumstances of bullies, victims, or witnesses with utmost confidentiality.

On Thursday, Ateneo de Manila Junior High School principal Jose Antonio Salvador said the incidents depict "an evident act of violence that constitutes a serious violation of disciplinary misconduct."

"The Ateneo Junior High School is dealing with this matter seriously beginning with an immediate investigation that ensued the moment the report reached us," he said. (PNA)

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