Bullying in school still exists in spite of the passage of Republic Act 10627 or Anti-Bullying Act in 2013. This is one of many problems in school grounds or campuses all over the country that greatly affect the emotional, psychological and even physical well-being of a student. Bullying knows no age in school, it all happens in kindergartens, elementary, high school or even college students.
For a few days now, this video of a male student from a prominent school being bullied particularly being punched and kicked repeatedly and threatened by his co-student circulated on the internet. It seems that bullies in this video did not know about ‘The Anti-Bullying Act of 2003″.
But what is bullying in the very first place?
Bullying, as defined under the Act, is any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property; creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of the other student at school; or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school; such as, but not limited to, the following:
Any unwanted physical contact between the bully and the victim like punching, pushing, shoving, kicking, slapping, tickling, headlocks, inflicting school pranks, teasing, fighting and the use of available objects as weapons;
Any act that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being;
Any slanderous statement or accusation that causes the victim undue emotional distress like directing foul language or profanity at the target, name-calling, tormenting and commenting negatively on victim’s looks, clothes, and body; and
Cyber-bullying or any bullying is done through the use of technology or any electronic means. The term shall also include any conduct resulting to harassment, intimidation, or humiliation, through the use of other forms of technology, such as, but not limited to texting, email, instant messaging, chatting, internet, social media, online games, or other platforms or formats.
Social bullying, or any deliberate, repetitive and aggressive social behavior intended to hurt others or to belittle another individual or group.
Gender-based bullying, or any act that humiliates or excludes a person on the basis of perceived or actual sexual orientation and gender identity.
As such, any person who commits any of the foregoing acts is considered a bully. Furthermore, any act of retaliation against a person who reports bullying, who provides information during an investigation of bullying, or who is a witness to or has reliable information about bullying, is likewise prohibited.
Where may bullying be committed?
Bullying may happen at the following:
- School grounds;
- The property immediately adjacent to School grounds;
- School-sponsored or School-related activities, functions or programs whether on or off School grounds;
- School bus stops;
- School buses or other vehicles owned, leased or used by a School; or
- School buses or School services privately-owned but accredited by the School.
Bullying may also occur at unrelated locations, functions or programs, through the use of technology or an electronic device or other forms of media, regardless if such is owned, leased, or used by the School.
What schools should do under the Act?
Public and private kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools, through their administrators, principals, and school heads, shall:
A. Adopt and implement child protection or anti-bullying policy in accordance with this IRR and submit the same to the Division Office. The anti-bullying policy may be a part of the school’s child protection policy;
B. Provide students and their parents or guardians a copy of the child protection or anti-bullying policy adopted by the school. Such policy shall likewise be included in the school’s student and/or employee handbook and shall be conspicuously posted on the school walls and website if there is any;
C. Educate students on the dynamics of bullying, the anti-bullying policies of the school as well as the mechanisms for the anonymous reporting of acts of bullying or retaliation;
D. Educate parents and guardians about the dynamics of bullying, the child protection or anti-bullying policy of the school and how parents and guardians can provide support and reinforce the said policy at home;
E. Devise prevention, intervention, protective and remedial measures to address bullying;
F. Conduct the capacity building activities for guidance counselors/teachers and the members of the Child Protection Committees;
G. Ensure effective implementation of the anti-bullying policy and monitor compliance therewith;
H. Ensure the safety of the victim of bullying, the bully, and the bystander and determine the students’ needs for protection;
I. Ensure that the rights of the victim, the bully, and the bystander are protected and upheld during the conduct of the investigation;
J. Accomplish the Intake Sheet prescribed in Annex “B”, whenever there is an incident of bullying, maintain a record of all proceedings related to bullying, and submit reports prescribed in “Annex A,” of DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012, to the Division Office;
K. Maintain a public record or statistics of incidents of bullying and retaliation;
L. Coordinate with appropriate offices and other agencies or instrumentalities for appropriate assistance and intervention, as required by the circumstances.
The school principal or any person who holds a comparable role shall be responsible for the implementation and oversight of the child protection or anti-bullying policy.
All public and private schools shall include in the school’s child protection or anti-bullying policy a range of disciplinary administrative actions that may be taken against the perpetrator of bullying or retaliation.
Bullying incidents or retaliation shall be treated according to their nature, gravity or severity and attendant circumstances.
1. The school head, considering the nature, gravity or severity, previous incidents of bullying or retaliation and attendant circumstances, may impose reasonable disciplinary measures on the bully or offending student that is proportionate to the act committed.
2. A written reprimand, community service, suspension, exclusion or expulsion, in accordance with existing rules and regulations of the school or of the Department for public schools, may be imposed, if the circumstances warrant the imposition of such penalty, provided that the requirements of due process are complied with.
3. In addition to the disciplinary sanction, the bully shall also be required to undergo an intervention program which shall be administered or supervised by the school’s Child Protection Committee. The parents of the bully shall be encouraged to join the intervention program.