Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TEACHING BAD (Yes, a Teacher Can Be Held Liable For Humiliating A Student)

By Siesta-friendly

When teachers are the bullies, it is not bullying, it is ABUSE …
and should not be tolerated!

Recently, a high school senior committed suicide after being allegedly “bullied” by his teacher.

Nothing can match the heartbreak knowing that someone has hurt a child.  The devastation is unspeakable when the hurt child loses his life as a result. 

After reading insensitive and condemnatory online comments against the student and his family for considering filing charges against his teacher, we have to say that “condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance” [unknown origin].  But we digress.

Based on Merriam-Webster online, “bully” is defined as -

Bully    :  [noun] one habitually cruel to others who are weaker
              :[verb] to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person)
            : [verb] to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using

Thus, a teacher who humiliates, insults, threatens, or hurts a student is a bully; not to mention someone who is acting in abuse of his/her authority.

then we have a COMMON GROUND to establish a LEARNING RELATIONSHIP.
- Dale Knepper

It is distressing that despite the 25th anniversary this year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), those in society who are given the custody and care of children are still lacking much in awareness, sensitivity and concern that, as the CRC’s Preamble states, children are “entitled to special care and assistance”, should be raised in an “atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding”, and, “by reason of [their] physical and mental immaturity, [need] special safeguards and care”.

And we are not exactly lacking in laws, rules and regulations made especially for the welfare of children and specifically applicable to teachers (and schools) regarding their roles towards their students: the Constitution, the Family Code, the Civil Code, the Anti-Bullying Act, and DepEd Order No. 40 s. 2012.

that others can see their way out of the dark.

 1987 Constitution

The 1987 Constitution specifically provides, under Section 3 (2) of Article XIV (EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, ARTS, CULTURE AND SPORTS), that all educational institutions shall “foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, … strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline“.

Bullying, as specifically addressed in the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, includes causing emotional damage and distress.

Anti-Bullying Act of 2013

“materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school; such as, but not limited to, the following:


a.      Any act that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being;
b.      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


Complaints of bullying and other acts shall be within the exclusive jurisdiction of the DepEd or the private school and shall not be brought for amicable settlement before the Barangay, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations. Complaints for acts covered by other laws shall be referred to the appropriate authorities. (Section 10.A)

While defining child abuse to include psychological abuse and emotional maltreatment, DepEd Order No. 40 s. 2012 also considers causing mental or emotional suffering as violence committed on a child.

DepEd Child Protection Policy

Under Sec. 3.I, “[C]hild abuse refers to the maltreatment of a child, whether habitual or not, which includes any of the following:

1)      psychological or physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;
2)      any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;


In addition, Section 3.L states that “[v]iolence against children committed in schools refers to a single act or a series of acts committed by school administrators, academic and non-academic personnel against a child, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or other abuses including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

3.      Psychological violence refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or emotional suffering of the child, such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, deduction or threat of deduction from grade or merit as a form of punishment, and repeated verbal abuse.
4.      Other acts of violence of a physical, sexual or psychological nature that are prejudicial to the best interest of the child.“

We note that Sec. 3.P sets the following guidelines for educators -

Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children - is a way of thinking and a holistic, constructive and pro-active approach to teaching that helps children develop appropriate thinking and behavior in the short and long-term and fosters self-discipline.  It is based on the fundamental principle that children are full human beings with basic human rights.  Positive discipline begins with setting the long-term goals or impacts that teachers want to have on their students’ adult lives, and using everyday situations and challenges as opportunities to teach life-long skills and values to students

While Sec. 8 emphasizes the “Duties and Responsibilities of School Personnel” as follows:

“Article 218 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides the following responsibilities of school administrators, teachers, academic and non- academic and other personnel:

  1. Exercise special parental authority and responsibility over the child while under their supervision, instruction and custody. Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution.
Articles 220 and 233 of the Family Code of the Philippines, Presidential Decree No. 603, and other related laws enumerated the following duties and responsibilities of the abovementioned persons and personnel over the children under their supervision, instruction and custody:
  1. Keep them in their company and support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example;
  2. Give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;
  3. Enhance, protect, preserve and maintain their physical and mental health at all times;
  4. Furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company and prevent them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;
  5. Represent them in all matters affecting their interests;
  6. Inculcate the value of respect and obedience;
  7. Practice positive and non-violent discipline, as may be required under the circumstances; provided, that in no case shall corporal punishment be inflicted upon them;
  8. Perform such other duties as are imposed by law upon them, as substitute parents or guardians; and
  9. School personnel shall also strictly comply with the school’s child protection policy.“
Finally, under Section 20, “[a] complaint for child abuse, violence, exploitation or discrimination in a private school shall be filed with the School Head/Chief Executive Officer and shall be acted upon pursuant to the school’s rules of procedures on administrative cases. The penalty shall be that which is provided by the rules of the school, subject to the requirements of due process. The administrative case shall be without prejudice to any civil or criminal case that may be filed.” [emphasis supplied]

The best part of teaching is that it matters.
The hardest part of teaching is that every moment matters, every day.

– Todd Whitaker

Family Code

The Ant-Bullying Act and DepEd Order No. 40 s. 2012 cited above are specifically applicable to primary and secondary school students, regardless of age.

The following Family Code (E.O. 209) provisions on Parental Authority apply to unemancipated minors –

“Art. 220. The parents and those exercising parental authority shall have with the respect to their unemancipated children on wards the following rights and duties:
(1)   To keep them in their company, to support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example, and to provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means;
(2)   To give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;
(3)   To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of citizenship;
(4)   To furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company, and prevent them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;
(5)   To represent them in all matters affecting their interests;
(6)   To demand from them respect and obedience;
(7)   To impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances; and
(8)   To perform such other duties as are imposed by law upon parents and guardians. (316a)”

Those exercising parental authority include teachers pursuant to Art. 218 and 233 –

“Art. 218. The school, its administrators and teachers, or the individual, entity or institution engaged in child are shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.

Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution. (349a)


Art. 233. The person exercising substitute parental authority shall have the same authority over the person of the child as the parents.
In no case shall the school administrator, teacher of individual engaged in child care exercising special parental authority inflict corporal punishment upon the child. (n)”
the power to lift someone from the depths of darkness,
or rip them to shreds.
- Kate Walton

Civil Code

But even without legal provisions focused solely on the welfare of students and minors, our laws recognize that there are certain acts, though not deemed criminal, are actionable nonetheless because they have caused damage.  Some of these are acts are called quasi-delicts and are covered by the Civil Code -

“Article 2176.  Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done.  Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.”

Children have distinct needs and rights; and because of their age and immaturity, children need special protection.  We have the laws to protect children and their human rights.  We need to make sure everyone in society – especially those with parental authority over children – knows and observes them and are appropriately punished for breaking them.  We adults should know better and need to step up.



Careen Emm Billonid said...

This blog serves as an awareness, not just for teachers but also for everyone who seek to stop bullying. The Department of Education takes an important action of empowerment that schools must undertake the responsibility to be proactive about bullying. What's more about their policies is to provide self- awareness worked for students and also for teachers to strengthen and develop sensitivity to one another. There are different rules that institutions would defer if they fail to impose the rules and they will face administrative sanctions. With this blog it emphasizes that even though you are already a teacher it does not mean that you can simply humiliate a child after making a mistake. In fact, in cases of bullying it is the teachers' role to counsel the child for him not to be depress. Institutions must adhere to anti bullying laws so that learning process through morally, intellectually, psychologically, emotionally, and socially happened. This vital laws inform everyone that bullying is an extremely sensitive issue and it's not easy being bullied with someone.

I have found that your weblog is useful to all readers, it opens the minds of those who'll read that bullying is without exemption. Neither presidents nor slave, neither teachers nor students, etc can do bullying. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! God speed!

The Legally Inclined said...

Careen Emm Billonid,
Thank you for your encouraging words.
Kind regards.

ricky ramat said...

Hi my name is Ricky Ramat from Manila my child also experienced being bullied by his own public

The story:

1.musta anak?ok naman po papa!musta Ang school?okey Lang po!!why?kinurot po ako.may nakitang wraper nG biscuit sa under my di naman akin!

2.nakatayo Ang anak ko at pinsan Nya.nagulat na Lang silang sinigawan nG (something like)"pag Pinag untog ko kayong dalawa di naman halata kasi Kaiitim Nyo?

3.something like pag umiiyak daw Ang baby ko parang "tanga"

Ginawa at sinabi nG teacher sa harap nG maraming Ang anak ko very irritated,walang ganang pumasok at Kumain.
What is the best thing we can do to our child.

The Legally Inclined said...

Hi Ricky Ramat,
The best thing you can do for your child is to let them know you are there for him/her. Make a formal complaint with the principal and send a copy to Deped. If you need a child psychologist to treat him/her, go see one. Make your child know that you will not let it pass.​ These acts are not allowed and those who still practice them must be held to account. All the best!

shajena RZ said...

Pano po pag sinabihan ng principal ang bata na parang ASONG BALIW ng maraming beses? Ano po ba dapat iparusa sa nasabing principal? Maari ba syang masuspende o matanggalan ng license as teacher?

shajena RZ said...

Paano po pag mismong principal mismo ang nag sabing parang ASONG BALIW ang kapatid ko? Maaari po ba syang masyspende o matanggalan ng lisensya bilang principal/guro?

The Legally Inclined said...

Shajena RZ,
Hindi po namin masasabi kung anong parusa ang maipaparatang. Ang pinaka-mainam po ay magsampa kayo ng reklamo sa school administration at sa DepEd.​ Sumangguni sa abugado kung maaring magsampa din ng kasong libel o slander laban sa kanya.