Save the Children Philippines calls on parents and teachers to address causes of bullying

Save the Children Philippines said parents and school authorities should look into the causes of a child’s misbehaviors such as bullying to address violence against children in all settings.

Wilma Banaga, Children Protection Advisor, Program Development Quality of Save the Children Philippines said adults should learn that interventions should be on both the child who was the target of bullying and the one who committed bullying.

“We need to understand that a child might bully another due to difficulties in managing anger, aggression, non-tolerance for individual differences, experiences of violence at home, or the lack of good role models at home,” said Banaga in a statement.

Save the Children believes that it is important for adults to be good role models to children. Positive Discipline or establishing a warm, nurturing and supportive environment at home can help prevent bullying from happening.

“Parents need to find the time to build a loving relationship with their children, and provide them the necessary guidance for them to grow up to be caring and non-violent individuals, and not children who accept that it is alright to hurt others,” said Banaga.

Save the Children Philippines is pushing for Positive Discipline that eliminates all forms of physical and humiliating punishment against children. The Positive Discipline bill has already been ratified by both Senate and House of Representatives.

Banaga also called for protection of privacy of all Ateneo Junior High School students involved in the viral video of bullying act circulating in the social media.

She said sharing of the bullying act in it itself and calling for harsh punishments for the child who committed the bullying constitute “cyber-bullying.”

“Save the Children Philippines believes that bullying should be taken seriously and immediately addressed by the school or community, and by the families of the children who are involved in this,” said Banaga in a statement on Friday.

Bullying is a form of violence being experienced by 3 out of 5 Filipino children, according to the 2015 National Baseline Study on Violence against Children (NBSVAC) of the Council for the Welfare of Children.

Banaga said bullying is commonly perpetrated by schoolmates and close friends and considered to be part of having ‘fun’ among friends. “(But) bullying is still a form of violence and has physical and psychological effects on the child being bullied, the child who committed the bullying and those who have witnessed it.”

She said cases of bullying should be reported to proper authorities. In school, the matter can be reported to a teacher or guidance counselor based on the school’s procedures in handling cases of bullying as mandated by Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act, and by the Department of Education’s Child Protection Policy (Department Order No. 40 s.2012).

She also called on schools handling cases of bullying to follow due process. “Although schools can impose suspensions or expulsions if circumstances warrant it, we hope that this will be the last resort as such disciplinary measures have been found to increase the risk of children experience negative outcomes later in life, and do little to deter a student from misbehaving.”