DepEd to intervene with Ateneo's probe on viral bullying incident if necessary

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) stated that the agency may intervene with the investigation by Ateneo de Manila Junior High School only if necessary.
DepEd to intervene with Ateneo's probe on viral bullying incident

DepEd to intervene with Ateneo's probe on viral bullying incident
The Department of Education will intervene with Ateneo de Manila High School’s probe if some parties “will not be satisfied” with the establishment of facts | Photo Courtesy: ABS-CBN News

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that while the agency is trusting the school administration to handle the matter, they can intervene if “one party is not satisfied with the results.”

Malaluan said, “Our regional director has written the principal of the school stating na itong matter na ito ay nakaabot na sa aming kaalaman and we trust that they will handle this based on the standards of the child protection policy and that we be updated on the matter.”

The DepEd official explained that even if Ateneo is a private school, the government agency still has jurisdiction as far as the implementation of policies is concerned.

The Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 requires all public and private kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools to have their own anti-bullying policies. These policies should be submitted to DepEd's Division Office. Private schools that fail to submit their policies will face penalties.

Malaluan, however, refused to comment on the possible sanction or penalty that the offending party on the viral bullying video may face if found guilty.

“That (penalty) must be based on the facts that will be established," Malaluan said.

The DepEd official said that the agency will not hesitate to intervene if there will be issues on the establishment of facts. Malaluan said, “Of course kung meron na mga parties na will not be satisfied, let's say some of the parties, let's say the victims, with respect to the appreciation of facts, then there's a possibility that it will reach the Department of Education first through our divisions and regions and ultimately the central office.”

Malaluan also stressed the importance of treating the issue with sensitivity because it involves minors.

Viral video has enraged netizens

A video showing an alleged bullying incident inside a restroom involving students from Ateneo de Manila Junior High School has recently gone viral. In the video, a student was seen provoking another student with verbal taunts. The student then asked the “victim” to kiss his shoes and his private part or he will be beaten. The “attacker”, who later on was found out to be a black belter in Taekwondo, started kicking and beating the other student.

Ateneo de Manila University’s statements

Ateneo de Manila High School already released their official statement on the matter. Principal Jose Antonio Salvador confirmed that a probe will be conducted on the “fighting video.” He also asked the public to stop sharing the video online.

"Not only has the privacy rights of these minors been breached but it has also provoked some reactions that do little to help the school in dealing appropriately with the incident," he said.

Ateneo de Manila University president Fr Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, also spoke up about the issue. He said that they are not taking the incident lightly, they are "treating the matter with the highest priority and urgency."

"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. The school is not silent on its stand on violence and it will not hesitate to impose the penalty of dismissal or even expulsion in cases of grave misconduct," Villarin said.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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