Senator Win Gatchalian condemned reports of sexual harassment involving faculty members of the Far Eastern University High School which went viral on social media platforms. Some students recently shared via Twitter their recollection of how they were sexually harassed by some of their male teachers before the pandemic.
While Gatchalian called on the FEU high school’s administration to hold the perpetrators accountable for their misconduct, the senator also urged basic education institutions to ensure the strong enforcement of child protection programs to protect learners. According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, schools should have zero tolerance for any form of abuse or predatory behavior.
Gatchalian pointed out that DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012 mandates both public and private elementary and secondary schools to create Child Protection Committees (CPCs), which give them mechanisms of addressing cases of exploitation and abuse.
Among the tasks of CPCs are the creation of child protection policies, identification of learners who may be experiencing abuse and exploitation, and reporting of cases involving child abuse. CPCs are also expected to coordinate with the Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Desk (PNP-WCPD), the Local Social Welfare and Development Office (LSWDO), other government agencies, and non-government organizations.
Last January, the Department of Education (DepEd) also announced the creation of a Child Protection Unit or Office in the Central Office with counterparts in regional offices and school division offices to support school CPCs.
“Walang lugar sa ating mga paaralan ang ano mang uri ng pang-aabuso sa ating mga kabataan. Hindi natin dapat hinahayaang patuloy na nakakapambiktima ang mga nasa likod ng ganitong mga insidente ng pang-aabuso o karahasan sa ating mga mag-aaral na dapat sana ay pinananatili nilang ligtas,” said Gatchalian.
Last year, students and alumni of Miriam College High School also went to social media to bare their experiences of sexual harassment and violence from teachers.