education in the Philippines

Colegio San Agustin Makati probes ‘fighting incident’ in comfort room

Russell Ku
Colegio San Agustin Makati probes ‘fighting incident’ in comfort room
(1st UPDATE) A viral Twitter thread shows that the incident and its aftermath were caught on camera, with a student lying on the floor and his head bloodied

Trigger warning: The story contains descriptions of bullying and violence.

MANILA, Philippines – Colegio San Agustin (CSA) Makati has launched an investigation into a “fighting incident” in its boys’ comfort room between two Grade 9 students after a series of tweets on the matter went viral on Monday, December 5.

CSA Makati confirmed the incident in a statement by its rector, Father Dante Bendoy, on Tuesday, December 6, saying that one of its guards “received a request of assistance from a student to respond to [the] alleged accident in the boy’s comfort room.”

According to the statement, the guard found two students who needed medical assistance and were immediately brought to the school clinic.

The school’s coordinator for campus discipline, safety, and security later confirmed that the incident was caused by “fighting” between the Grade 9 students.

A Twitter thread by the account @G9CSAracist showed that the incident and its aftermath were caught on camera. Video clips and photos showed the second child lying on the floor and his head bloodied.

To protect the privacy of the minors involved, Rappler is withholding their identities as well as photos and videos of the incident.

“The Discipline Group of the High School Department has been convened and has been conducting inquiries and is in direct communication with the students involved and their parents immediately after the incident,” Bendoy said.

He also said that CSA Makati is treating this incident “with extreme urgency and importance” and told the public to be “mindful of the consequences of sharing videos or photos on social media involving the minor students.”

The rector added that the school “does not tolerate or condone violence,” institutionalizing child protection policy and guidelines and constantly updating their student handbook.

In response to the incident, the Department of Education said in a statement that it has instructed its Schools Division Office to coordinate with CSA Makati on the matter.

However, it also said that it only “has reasonable supervision and regulation” on the incident as it happened in a private school.

Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 requires all elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies that prohibit bullying of any kind and retaliation against anyone who reports such incidents.

Schools should also provide clear strategies and procedures for reporting acts of bullying and retaliation, responding promptly to such incidents, and protecting students who provide information on the matter.

In addition to disciplinary sanctions, the law requires perpetrators to undergo a rehabilitation program.

Private schools can have their operating permits suspended if they do not comply with the law.

This is not the first time that a school has come under fire after a student was caught bullying in a viral video. In 2018, a similar incident at the Ateneo de Manila University high school sparked national outrage. Ateneo dismissed the junior high school student who was found assaulting a schoolmate.

Following the incident, then-Ateneo president Father Jose Ramon “Jett” Villarin created a task force to “conduct a comprehensive study” of how the school’s anti-bullying policies and processes at the time were implemented. – Rappler.com

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Russell Ku

Russell Ku is a digital communications specialist at Rappler, believing in the power of stories to build an empathic society. Outside of work, he dives deep into pop culture, especially the world of K-Pop.