Raging school official who burned students' bags should go on leave

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones said on Monday, August 20, that Bicol Central Academy (BCA) administrator Alexander James Jaucian, whose rage was caught on a video that went viral, should go on leave.

Dapat mag-leave siya and then somebody can take over para mag-deal sa amin, mag-deal sa mga parents. Hindi na siya dahli makikita lang siya nangangatog na ang bata sa takot,” Briones said in an interview with DZBB Super Radyo.

(He should go on leave and then somebody can take over to deal with us [DepEd], deal with the parents. It shouldn’t be him because the children already shake with fear when they see him.)

Viral photos posted on social media showed Jaucian allegedly ordering that the bags of students be burned after they failed to comply with the "no-bag" policy for a school event.

Jaucian, who is also a provincial board member in Bicol, was also caught on video calling the students "stupid.”

Briones said she gave the recommendation to DepEd Bicol Director Gilbert Sadsad. "Advise the school that first, either this administrator take a leave or somebody else will take over because his mere presence already elicits fear from the children and the parents, because I understand, he also has political clout," she said in Filipino. 

Briones said the DepEd sent a letter to Jaucian last Saturday, August 18, demanding an explanation for his actions but that they have yet to receive a response as of Monday morning.

The education secretary also said DepEd has launched an investigation into the incident and received last Saturday, August 18, a partial report from its officers in the region.

Briones also said Sadsad was due to visit the BCA Monday, August 20, with a guidance counselor to conduct further investigations into the matter. She added the guidance counselor will also talk to the students and their parents who are involved in the incident to assure them of the DepEd’s support.

What happens next: Briones said parents can file charges against the school administrator on their own or as a group as the law prohibits the burning of private property, which in this case are the students’ belongings.

She also said the DepEd is looking into possible steps it can take. These include exercising their regulatory powers like an independent audit into the school’s operations, the limiting of financial assistance to the school, or non-issuance of recommendation for tax exemption.

Briones said the annual independent audit is done to review the school’s operations and teachers' compliance with the DepEd’s regulations. The same audit team, she said, can give recommendations for further action and whether or not to suspend or cancel the school’s license.

Pwede naming mag-request tutal ginagawa talaga ng independent body na ito na tinitignan at na-asses ng mga private schools, na sila ang magbigay ng recommendation because usually sila ang nagsasabi ng itong iskuwelahan na ito dahill sila yung nag-iinspect,” Briones said.

(We can request, though the independent body already reviews and assesses private schools, that they give a recommendation because they usually tell us about these schools that they inspect.)

She added, “Sinsasabihin nila sa amin na pwedeng i-suspend o i-cancel ba ang permit to operate. Pwede ring sasabihin na huwag ibigay yung financial assistance natin.” (They suggest to us to suspend or cancel a permit to operate. They can also recommend to us to not give a school financial assistance.)

Hindi naman sila (schools) binabayaran para mumurahin o para takutin yung mga bata. Hindi iyan kasama sa usapan,” Briones said. (Schools are not paid to curse or scare children. That is not part of the agreement.)

The DepEd said it will not hesitate to file sanctions against those who violated the department’s policies.

The DepEd assured the public it will fully implement the Child Protection Policy to ensure learners are in school environment that “does not make light of their right, safety, and dignity.” – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

image