Christian school sued over boy’s expulsion
A child abuse complaint was filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor on Friday against the Board of Discipline of one of the prominent and exclusive Christian schools in Cebu City.
According to the judicial affidavit executed by the parents of the complainant as furnished by their legal counsel, lawyer Innocencio dela Cerna, the incident occurred sometime in October 2014, when the complainant was still 13 years old and in Grade 7.
The parents of the complainant said in the affidavit that they were called to the school over their son’s alleged unpleasant and inappropriate behavior towards his classmate.
However, they were not furnished a copy of the complaint and evidences of the accusations to protect the identity of the victim.
Days after the dialogue, their son was not allowed entry into his classroom but was placed in a separate room that was visible to his classmates.
The non-readmission was decided by the school’s Board of Discipline against the complainant for his alleged transgressions, in addition to the home-study program imposed on him in order for him to finish Grade 7.
The parents were forced to transfer their son to another school in the middle of school year 2014-2015 as there was allegedly no teacher or administrator to guide him in going through the modules of the home-study program.
“Ang ilang pasabot anang home study, every Saturday ra siya muadto pero it took the life as a student sa akong anak. Pag Monday to Friday, wa man siya’y buhaton. Makit-an man nimo didto nga sige ug hinuktok, maghilak, unya magsige ug tan-aw didto sa bintana (What they mean by home study was that the child would go to school only every Saturday, but it took the life of my child as a student. During Mondays through Fridays, he had nothing to do. We saw him always staring blankly, crying and looking at the window),” the father of the complainant said.
The father explained that he even requested to meet with the parents of the alleged victim to clarify everything but to no avail.
After filing a request for reinvestigation, the Department of Education issued a resolution on April 22, 2016, saying that the minor complainant was denied due process.
According to Dela Cerna, his clients were not given a chance to explain their side or appeal the decision, and the failure of the school to furnish them a copy of the complaint and affidavit for the allegations against the minor complainant was a denial of due process.
“Supposedly, it is a Christian and Catholic institution; however, they did not follow the basic precepts of Christianity,” he said. “They were the judge, the jury and the executioner all at once.”
Dela Cerna pointed out that a psychological examination of his minor client concluded that the incident took a psychological toll on the child, which he explained is also an impetus for them to file a multi-million claim against the school for damages in the coming weeks.
He said that his clients are only filing the case now because it is only now that they have seen the extent of the psychological impact of the incident on the child and they want to seek justice.
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