DepEd reminds schools of anti-bullying policies after Ateneo Junior HS incident

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) reminded schools to enforce anti-bullying policies after a video of an Ateneo de Manila Junior High School student who appeared to bully another went viral on Thursday, December 20.

The DepEd issued its reminder the following day, Friday, December 21. Addressed to both public and private Kindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools, it highlighted laws and regulations that schools must comply with to ensure robust anti-bullying policies.

DepEd Child Protection Policy (DepEd Order No 40, series 2012) orders the creation of Child Protection Committees in all public and private schools.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (RA 10627) requires all public and private schools to submit a copy of their child protection or anti-bulllying policy to the division office.

The same rules order the implementation of “comprehensive, multifaceted” bullying prevention programs in schools, said DepEd.

These should include “counseling, life skills training, education and other activities that will enhance the psychological, emotional, and psycho social well-being" of victims, bullies, and other affected parties.

The DepEd reminder also encouraged students to report bullying to their parents, teachers, and other appropriate authorities. It gave assurances that the identity and personal circumstances of everyone involved – victims, bullies, witnesses – would be treated with confidentiantiality.

On Thursday, December 20, Ateneo de Manila University president Fr Jose Ramon Villarin SJ said in a statement that the school is "treating the matter with the highest priority and urgency."

Villarin said: "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." – Rappler.com