MisOr schools enforce anti-bullying policy-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
THE Department of Education (DepEd) in Misamis Oriental said schools in the province have already enforced policies against bullying even before the anti-bullying law which was approved by President Benigno Aquino III was in place.
DepEd schools division superintendent Dr. Cherry Mae Limbaco said that even before the law has been signed they have implemented anti-bullying campaigns to schools in the province.
On September 12, Aquino signed into law Republic Act 10627 that is intended to curb bullying cases in schools in the country.
According to the law, bullying is defined 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."
The anti-bullying law requires the schools to implement disciplinary actions to actors of bullying or even retaliations over bullying after it has been reported.
The law also mandates educational institutions to have rehabilitation programs for confirmed bullies in their school.
Last year, DepEd released an order to all private and public schools to protect the children from any forms of physical and emotional abuse from anyone including the teachers.
The order was known as the “DepEd Child Protection Policy.”
Adelfa Del Rosario, a guidance counselor at Bugo National High School (BNHS) told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that they have recorded two bullying incidents in the campus.
“Naay mga maghilak nga student kay sige og bullyhon sa classmates (There are students who would cry because they were bullied by their classmates),” Del Rosario said.
She added the bullying incidents in the school involve personal attacks that are inflicted verbally.
“There are also cases which involve physical attacks or threats of physical attack,” she said.
Del Rosario cited one of the students got bullied often by her classmates because of the pimples all over her face.
She said this student would just cry and disregard the bullies because she has learned to accept his condition.
“Na-accept na niya kay dili man ma-attend iyang basic needs sa iyang guardians mao daghan siya og bugas (She has learned to accept it because her basic needs were not met by her guardians that why she got plenty of pimples),” said Del Rosario.
At Puerto Elementary School, guidance counselor Maydafe Carlos said they have recorded more or less 50 cases of bullying in the campus.
She said it could have been more if they considered the unreported bullying incidents.
Carlos said derogatory terms like “bugok (idiot)” or “baho (smelly)” when used on students by their teachers or other students is an act of bullying.
She said DepEd-MisOr is so far succeeding in disseminating information about anti-bullying in all the schools in the province.
Limbaco said they have even included parents and their children in their campaign against bullying.
“We have established school committees that seek to protect students against bullying,” Limbaco said, pointing out that guidance and counseling offices and the parent-teacher assemblies play a key role in the campaign.
Del Rosario said they address bullying through discussing problems during flag ceremonies every Monday.
She added that every Monday morning she spends time to counsel students who are bullied or even those identified as bullies.
“Every day we try to teach them (students) certain values through personal conversations and values education classes,” she said.
Del Rosario said BNHS has a dean of discipline who attends to settling conflicts and bullying cases, and the dean will turn the case over to the guidance office if there is a recurring issue.
Carlos said they have other approaches to record and arrest bullying before it aggravates.
“We tasked students to create diaries and journals to record their experiences at school,” said Carlos explaining how these materials can be used to spot and pre-empt bullying among students.
She said the teachers also have their anecdotal notebooks in which they list down possible cases of bullying based on student journals.
Upon spotting bullying incidents the teachers will reprimand the bullies and notify their parents about their untoward behavior in the school.
Limbaco said this is usually what schools in the province do in response to bullying even before the law was approved.
“We’re taking a deeper look at the Anti-bullying law, while at the same time disseminating the information,” Limbaco added.
The anti-bullying law keeps the anonymity of the involved parties.
The law ensures that the names of the students involved in bullying cases shall be kept confidential and only the school administration, the teachers who are directly involved, and the parents and guardians of the involved parties will have access to information regarding bullying incidents.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 10, 2013.