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DepEd issues child protection policy guidelines

May 4, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday issued the Child Protection Policy (CPP) guidelines for public and private school teachers in the administration of disciplinary actions against erring students.

The CPP was hailed as a landmark policy for teachers against bullying in schools.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro signed the CPP yesterday and said it would be a very useful tool for teachers as they struggle daily with the duty of instilling discipline among their young and impressionable school children.

“Even a cursory reading of the 30-page policy and guidelines will show that it is a comprehensive program that includes capacity building for teachers and other adults; protective and preventive remedial measures to address child abuse wholistically,” Luistro said.

“I hope they read the whole document,” he added.

The CPP was developed by the DepEd in partnership with members of civil society groups, teachers’ groups, private and public school representatives, international agencies and other child protection advocates.

The 30-page CPP is formally titled “Policies and Guidelines on Protecting Children in School from Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Discrimination, Bullying and Other Forms of Abuse.”

Luistro said every child is protected by the Constitution from unfair and adverse treatment, whether physical or emotional.

“The objective of the policy is to observe and promote zero tolerance on any act of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, bullying and other forms of abuse in school,” he said.

Luistro noted the Constitution was very clear when it declared that the State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care, and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development.

The policy guidelines have listed down the specific acts that constitute child abuse and violence, which public and private schools can use as a guide in addressing this silent but very real social problem.

The guidelines aim to protect the child from all forms of violence that may be inflicted by adults, persons of authority as well as their fellow students, including bullying.

One of the duties of DepEd as stipulated in the guideline is to develop information, education, reporting system, exercise of disciplinary action and recommendation to address and prevent all forms of child abuse.

The guidelines also call for the establishment of a Child Protection Committee in all public and private elementary and secondary schools composed of school officials, teachers, parents, students, and a community representative.

Its duty is to draft a school child protection policy with a code of conduct and a plan to ensure child protection and safety that would be reviewed every three years.

“The CPC needs the cooperation of all education stakeholders because what is at stake here is the welfare of the child and the stability of the community,” Luistro explained.

Luistro added all public and private elementary and secondary schools shall build the capabilities of school personnel, students and parents to understand and deal with child abuse by conducting trainings and seminars on positive peer relationship and enhancement of social and emotional competence.

To achieve this, Luistro urged the use of training modules which include positive and non-violent discipline in the classroom as well as anger and stress management and gender sensitivity.

They would also employ means which will enhance the skills and pedagogy in integrating and teaching children’s rights in the classroom, he said.

DepEd Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Alberto Muyot said the CPP promoted “positive and non-violent discipline.”

“The policy also addresses bullying in schools, which students themselves have identified as a bigger concern in a survey done in public schools,” Muyot said.

He said the DepEd tapped the participation of public school teachers’ associations in formulating the policy.

“Teachers’ groups where part of the technical working group that drafted the CPP policy,” Muyot said. –Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star)

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