Palace reacts to viral Ateneo bullying video

December 21, 2018

Malacañang is “bothered” by the viral video of a bullying incident involving students of the Ateneo Junior High School (AJHS) and urged the school to “do something about it.”

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he watched the video and said “bullying inside the classroom and school” should not be allowed.

A viral video that circulated Thursday showed some students of the AJHS bullying a student inside a comfort room and the verbal attacks eventually became physical.

“I watched that. I was bothered by what I saw. I think they should investigate first why there was such a one-sided fight,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“It should be investigated. I think the school should investigate the incidents and do something about it,” he added.

The Palace official further said “you cannot be allowing bullying inside the classroom, and school,” pointing out that “there is a law against that.”

Ateneo has conducted an urgent investigation into the incident and said it would not hesitate to dismiss or expel students who may be found guilty of grave misconduct.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) reminded school officials to enforce anti-bullying policies following the viral video of an Ateneo de Manila Junior High School student who appeared bullying another student.

The reminder issued on Friday to  both public and private Kindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools the necessity and importance of adopting and enforcing anti-bullying policies in their respective institutions.

Under the DepEd Child Protection Policy (DepEd Order No 40, series 2012) orders the creation of Child Protection Committees in all public and private schools.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (RA 10627) requires all public and private schools to submit a copy of their child protection or anti-bulllying policy to the division office.

The same rules order the implementation of “comprehensive, multifaceted” bullying prevention programs in schools, said DepEd.

These should include “counseling, life skills training, education and other activities that will enhance the psychological, emotional, and psycho social well-being” of victims, bullies, and other affected parties.

Private schools that fail to comply with the requirements of R.A. 10627 or of the IRR may face penalties under the law.

The Department also encourages learners who experience or witness bullying, abuse, or retaliation to speak up and report verified incidents to their peers, parents, teachers, and the appropriate authorities for proper intervention.

Any information relating to the identity and personal circumstances of the bully/ies, the victim/s, or the witness/es shall be treated with utmost confidentiality by the CPC and the school personnel.

On Thursday,Ateneo de Manila University president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin said in a statement that the school is “treating the matter with the highest priority and urgency.”

On the other hand, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday called on both officials of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and the parents of school children allegedly involved in a bullying incident to immediately address the issue.

“These things happen everywhere, in private and public schools, in exclusive and non-exclusive schools. The school administration and the parents have the principal responsibility to address this concern,” Guevarra, an Ateneo alumni and the university’s former law professor, lamented.

Also, Guevarra reminded the university and the parents that “sensitive care and understanding should be extended to those young children who commit and/or are at the receiving end of these acts, lest they be psychologically or emotionally scarred forever.”

“I will advise them to address the situation internally, within the parameters of school policy and regulations. We are dealing with growing up and adolescent children lacking in maturity and discernment here. We need to exercise circumspection,” he added.

With Hector Lawas and Arlene Rivera