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‘Fine line between bullying, discipline’

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BY PRINCE GOLEZ Manila Reporter

MANILA – There is a fine line between bullying and discipline, women’s rights party-list Gabriela told Panay News.

Cong. Luzviminda Ilagan said school authorities must set regular reminders and implement fair policies to prevent bullying and to ensure school safety.

“When educators come up with his or her ways to discipline, these could be interpreted as bullying. They should be made aware of what is acceptable and what’s not,” Ilagan stressed.

She added that a teacher would no longer have the confidence to do her duty of moulding the young when she would constantly check her actions vis-à-vis the law.

The Anti-Bullying Act of 2012 seeks to provide policies to address all forms of bullying, implement disciplinary actions, and establish a system of reporting.

Cong. Mary Mitzi Cajayon, author of the Act, said private schools that tolerate incidents of bullying will be suspended.

School officials who fail to act on these will face administrative sanctions, too, Cajayon also said.

“New private schools are also mandated to include administrative policies and measures to monitor and prevent bullying incidents among students in their premises before a permit is given to them.”

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said bullying will be better addressed “when there is an institutional recognition of this power imbalance among students.”

Santiago said bullying can affect a student’s ability to learn and participate in school activities.

“Student development is hampered when there are incidents of violence, harassment and fear, most exemplified in cases of bullying,” the Ilongga senator stressed.

For his part, Sen. Edgardo Angara said there is no way anyone can tolerate bullying as it “causes trauma” and “drives kids to suicide.”

Citing studies, the Angara said at least one-third of Filipino children were verbally or physically bullied.

“The heart of this measure is the education of parents on bullying and to familiarize them with the anti-bullying policies of the school,” the former University of the Philippines president said./PN