MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday reminded schools to strictly enforce anti-bullying policies in light of a viral video showing a bullying incident involving a high school student of Ateneo de Manila University.
Department Order No. 40, which institutionalized zero tolerance against violence against children and established the Child Protection Committee (CPC) in all public and private schools, must be enforced, the DepEd said in a statement.
“The Department also encourages 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,” the DepEd said.
Any information relating to the identity and personal circumstances of the bullies, the victims, or the witnesses shall be treated with utmost confidentiality by the CPC and the school personnel, the agency added.
The implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 10627, or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, require schools to submit copies of anti-bullying policies to district offices. Penalties will be slapped on noncompliant schools.
DepEd also ordered the implementation of “comprehensive, multifaceted” bullying prevention programs in schools, which include counseling, life skills training, education, and other activities that will enhance the psychological, emotional and psychosocial well-being of victims, bullies and other affected parties.
In a video that went viral on Thursday, the Ateneo High School student, a taekwondo athlete, was heard asking a fellow student to choose between kissing the shoes of his schoolmate and getting beaten up. When the student refused to oblige, the other student proceeded to kick and beat him up.
Ateneo de Manila University was “treating the matter with the highest priority and urgency,” school president Father Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, said in a statement released Thursday.
“Let me be very clear: the school does not condone such behavior. We have our codified standards of conduct, and all students are made aware of these and their rights and responsibilities,” Villarin said./PN