Senator Sonny Angara has urged the Department on Education (DepEd) to ensure that all public and private kindergarten, elementary and high schools in the country are conducting prevention and intervention programs to address bullying in schools.
Angara made the call after receiving data on child protection from DepEd which showed that a total of 19,672 cases of bullying in public and private elementary and high schools were recorded during the school year 2016-2017.
Based on a cycle of 202 school days, this translates to 97 reported incidents of bullying in schools every day.
Data from DepEd showed 19,672 cases of bullying during last school year. This translates to 97 incidents every day.
“Halos isang daang kaso ng pambu-bully kada araw ang naitala ng DepEd, at posibleng marami pa ang hindi nairereport dahil sa takot, hiya o pag-aalinlangan ng mga biktima ng bullying. Bullying is one of the earliest forms of violence our children encounter. We must do everything we can to protect them from it,” said the veteran legislator, who principally authored the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 or Republic Act 10627 when he was still a congressman.
“To give our children quality education, we must ensure that they have a safe and positive learning environment. Itinulak natin ang Anti-Bullying Law para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga bata at para maiwasan ang mga insidente ng bullying sa paaralan,” added the seasoned lawmaker, who advocated for such measure because his own son was bullied in school.
The Anti-Bullying Law mandates all public and private kindergarten, elementary and high schools in the country to adopt anti-bullying policies which would include provisions on prohibited acts, prevention and intervention programs, mechanisms and procedures in handling bullying incidents.
Under the Anti-Bullying Law, bullying can be: 1) unwanted physical contact such as punching, pushing, kicking and slapping; 2) any act that causes damage to emotional well-being; 3) any slanderous statement or accusation like directing foul language or profanity and name-calling; 4) gender-based bullying; and, 5) cyber-bullying.
Under the law, bullying can be: 1) unwanted physical contact such as punching, pushing, kicking and slapping; 2) any act that causes damage to emotional well-being; 3) any slanderous statement or accusation like directing foul language or profanity and name-calling; 4) gender-based bullying; and, 5) cyber-bullying.
The implementing rules and regulations of RA 10627 provide for the proper handling of bullying incidents in schools. Immediate responses should include: 1) calling the attention of any school personnel who could intervene and stop the bullying; 2) separating the students involved; 3) ensuring the victim’s safety; and, 4) bringing the bully to the guidance office.
The bullying incident should be immediately reported to the school head, who shall then inform the parents or guardian of the victim and the bully about the incident.
Considering the nature or severity of the incident, the school head may impose disciplinary measures, such as written reprimand, community service, suspension, exclusion or expulsion, on the bully.
Victims and bullies may be referred to trained professionals outside the school such as social workers, psychologists, or child protection specialists for further assessment and appropriate intervention measures. Parents are encouraged to join the intervention program.
Parents should also be involved in bullying prevention activities. Schools must conduct education sessions for parents to learn, teach, model, and reinforce positive social and emotional skills to their children.
“The school is our children’s second home. The law provides a platform for young victims to speak up and seek help. I call on school authorities to be proactive and responsive to the law in order to ensure the safety of the students,” the youthful senator said.