Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations

By: Christia Marie Ramos - INQUIRER.net - Inquirer.net | November 27,2019 - 12:01 PM

Sen. Grace Poe during a joint hearing at the Senate. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO / RYAN LEAGOGO

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has filed a bill seeking to protect public school teachers and personnel from malicious accusations of child abuse as well as provide them with support on matters of student discipline.

Poe’s filing of Senate Bill No. 1189 came after journalist Raffy Tulfo earned the ire of netizens for pressuring a teacher to have her license revoked after she was accused of humiliating a student.

Under Senate Bill No. 1189, any act committed by a teacher or school staff pursuant to the disciplinary rules and procedure issued by the Department of Education (DepEd) “shall not be deemed as child abuse, cruelty, exploitation as denied in Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”

“Our public schools shoulder the crucial role of providing education to millions of students every year,” Poe said in the bill’s explanatory note.

“The classroom serves as a venue of formation for the children where teachers spend their careers teaching not only knowledge but values as well,” she added.

The measure covers all public school teaching personnel, including non-teaching personnel “who stand in direct contact with students in the course of the discharge of their duties.”

The bill, which Poe filed on Nov. 25, 2019, also tasks DepEd to formulate a teacher’s manual that would be implemented in all schools under its jurisdiction.
“Students, parents, teachers, other school personnel, and the community represented by their respective organization, as well as professionals in child behavior and social work, shall each have meaningful involvement in the formulation of the guidelines and the teacher’s manual,” the measure said.

“The manual shall set out, among others, the disciplinary action to be taken against students who are found to have made malicious accusations of child abuse against teachers and school staff,” it added.

The teacher’s manual should also detail the following:

  • The school’s rules and regulations to be observed by teachers with respect to students, whenever inside its premises or outside it;
  • Permissible, appropriate, and effective responses and interventions that will address violations of school ruled and regulations, including but not limited to communications to parents, counseling, reprimand, and detention, at each level and repetition of the offense, to be administered by teachers, the school head, and other school staff; and
  • A clear description of the disciplinary procedure and clear designation of the authorities competent to investigate, purpose, and apply the responses and interventions
  • The bill also mandates DepEd to extend to its teachers and other school personnel the “necessary protection, including but not limited to legal assistance and representation” in all charges related to student discipline and classroom management.
Edited by JPV
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