Suspension for school tolerating ‘bullying’


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Latest News Philippines: Suspension for school tolerating ‘bullying’ – Journal.com.ph:

PRIVATE schools which tolerate incidents of “bullying” will be suspended and school officials who failed to act on such incident would face administrative sanctions once a measure seeking to curb the incident is signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III.

Under HB 5496 principally authored by outgoing Caloocan 2nd District Rep. Mary ‘Mitch’ Cajayon, new private schools in the elementary and secondary levels are also mandated to include administrative policies and measures to monitor and prevent bullying incidents among students in their premises before they are given permits to operate.

Despite delays in the work of Congress before it adjourned ‘sine die’ last week due to the resignation of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday, Cajayon expressed satisfaction that HB 5496 was among those which was finished by both chambers and sent to Malacañang for signature by President Aquino.

Cajayon admitted she practically spent the remaining session days of Congress focused on ensuring that her ‘pet bill’ would successfully hurdle the legislative mill.

“This is one measure where the time and effort of Congress funded by taxpayers’ money was not wasted; it is now the turn of President Aquino to complete the process by signing it into law the soonest time possible,” the lady solon added.

“The approval of this landmark legislation came at an opportune time. Millions of students have already trooped to all public and private elementary and secondary schools last June 3, the opening of classes.

“There is no better way to welcome them than to ensure that they will be protected from harm and violence,” Cajayon said.

Cajayon said her measure has become necessary and timely due to the “rising incidents of bullying in the country.”

She cited the case of Patrick Sayas, a high school student at the Fernando Air Base National High School in Lipa City, Batangas, who died after he was allegedly punched in the face by an older schoolmate.

Cajayon said while she lauded the Department of Education (DepEd) for coming out with Department Order 40, Series of 2012 to prevent bullying at schools, her measure “will give more ‘teeth’ to the designed policies that are already in place.”

Within 90 days after being signed into law and to be known as the ‘Anti-Bullying Act of 2012, the Department of Education is mandated to enact policies for its effective implementation addressed to school principals and administrators who are primarily tasked to oversee their implementation.

HB 5496 defines “bullying” as “any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property;

“Creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of the other student at school; or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school.”

Likewise, Cajayon said her measure also covers ‘cyber bullying’ or “bullying done through the use of technology or any electronic means.”

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