A TEACHER was sued for child abuse under Republic Act 7610. It was reported that a grade one student accidentally bumped the knee of his teacher who was asleep.

The teacher woke up and asked her student to apologize to her. When the student did not do so, the teacher pinched him on his thigh, then held him up his armpits and pushed him to the floor. The student hit a desk and lost consciousness. The teacher continued to pick up her student by his ears and banged him on the floor.

A medical examination showed that the student sustained physical injuries.

In her defense, the teacher said that she did not have the intention to maltreat her student or to demean his dignity. She reasoned that she only intended to discipline her student.

The Supreme Court stated that teachers can discipline their students. However, the Court noted that the accused-teacher’s infliction of the injuries on her student was unnecessary, violent and excessive. Thus, the Court decided that under the circumstances, it was not justifiable for the teacher to claim that she only intended to discipline her student. In fact, the Family Code of the Philippines prohibits the teachers to inflict corporal punishment on their students. The Court therefore ruled that her actions constitute child abuse because it degraded and demeaned the worth and dignity of her student.

The teacher was given the penalty of imprisonment and she was also ordered to pay damages plus interest and costs of litigation. (Rosaldes vs. People of the Philippines, G.R. 173988 [2014])