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Senate bill seeks to stop bullying in schools

February 25, 2011 5:40pm
Schools at all levels will be obliged to define and enforce anti-bullying policies, if Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's bill is passed into law.

Senate Bill No. 2677 mandates all schools, whether public or private, including colleges and universities, to craft policies that will address the problem of bullying in their respective institutions.

The bill explained bullying as a series of acts within school premises by a student of minor age, intended to harass, intimidate or humiliate fellow students who are also minors.

"A safe and civil school environment is necessary for students to learn and achieve. However, a student’s development is hampered when there are incidents of violence, harassment and fear among students, most exemplified in cases of bullying," Santiago said in her explanatory note.

Under her proposed measure, educational institutions are required to set up processes that will allow students or their parents or guardians to report bullying incidents to teachers and school administrators.

The measure also requires teachers and other school staff who directly witnessed acts of bullying or received complaints about such acts to report these cases to the school administration, which shall investigate the incident.

It also mandates the schools to maintain a public record of relevant information and statistics on acts of bullying in school.

SB 2677 says bullying is committed when a minor student "commits a series of two or more acts directed towards another minor student, or a series of single acts directed towards several minor students in a school setting or a place of learning with the intent to constitute harassment, intimidation, force or humiliation."

Included in such acts are any of the following:
  • threats to a person with the infliction upon the person, honor or property of the person or of his family or any wrong;
  • stalking or constantly following or pursuing a person in his daily activities with unwanted, obsessive attention;
  • theft;
  • public humiliation or public and malicious, imputation of a crime or of a vice of defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit or contempt against a person;
  • deliberate destruction, defacement or damage of another's property;
  • physical violence committed upon a minor student, which may or may not result in harm or injury, with or without the aid of a weapon. Such violence may be in the form of mauling, hitting, punching, kicking, throwing things at a student, pinching, spanking, or other similar acts;
  • demanding, requesting or requiring sexual or monetary favors, or demands of property from a minor student; and
  • restraining the liberty and freedom of a minor student
The measure also includes any form of "cyber-bullying," which is bullying as listed above but done through electronic devices by means of texting, instant messaging, chatting, and the use of social networking websites.

All anti-bullying policies created under the proposed law will be submitted to the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) or the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The three said agencies identified by SB 2677 will determine the sanctions for school administrations who don't comply with the act.—JV, GMA News
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