A TEACHERS’ group welcomed the intervention of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the incident involving a Manila public school teacher who was embarrassed on television.
At the same time, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) proposed several measures to end “teacher-shaming.”
Benjo Basas, national chairperson of TDC, said, “This and other incidents should be taken seriously by the DepEd. We call on our Secretary Leonor Briones to make necessary steps to protect and defend our teachers as well.”
The incident which became viral and earned the ire of of public school teachers and netizens on their side.
In an episode entitled “Mommy, Ipina-Tulfo ang Pasaway na Teacher ng Kanyang Anak!” aired last Monday, November 18, the host acted on a complaint of a grandmother against the teacher of her grandchild for allegedly shaming and hurting the pupil.
The child’s parents also appeared on the show where they repeatedly asked for justice through the revocation of the teacher’s license to teach. The host agreed with the parents and even said that the child may suffer trauma.
He then called the teacher and made a live phone patch conversation. At the end of the interview, the host gave the teacher two options -- either she voluntarily give up her job and license to teach or face the consequence of a prison term because of child abuse. The pressured teacher agreed to revocation of license.
Yesterday, Mr. Raffy Tulfo the host of TV 5 program “Raffy Tulfo in Action” made some “apologetic” statements and said that he would no longer pursue the case and would just facilitate the settlement of both parties.
According to our sources from the teacher’s school in Manila, the teacher and the child’s mother have already settled their dispute after a meeting with some DepEd-Manila officials also yesterday, without the presence of media people.
It may be the end of the story for the mother and the teacher. But the TDC said that the incident is not isolated. “In many circumstances, teachers accused of violation of children’s rights have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, extortion, physical threat and some kind of media sensationalism.
“Teachers are often put in a disadvantaged position whenever a case is filed against them. Legal assistance, especially those of private lawyers is not readily available for teachers. In some cases, teachers are forced to enter into unfair settlement or worse, resign or face the court battle,” Basas said.
“In light of this issue, we would like to reiterate that teachers, in general would never want to cause any harm -- physically, emotionally or mentally — to the children. The main duty of our teachers is to teach and the teaching environment should be conducive. Thus, some sort of discipline is necessary.”
However, the group said that teachers are subjected to many regulations that are used or misused against them. “We have the RA 7610, the DepEd Child Protection Policy and other laws which we recognize and respect. Unfortunately, these laws are used to harass, threaten and intimidate the helpless teachers and in some cases, extort money from them,” Basas said.