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VP Duterte Tells Teachers To Observe Boundaries With Learners
Vice President Sara Duterte speaks during the launch of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) website and the Learner Telesafe Contact Center national hotline at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (OVP photo)
November 28th, 2022 | 14:17 PM | 416 views
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte reiterated that teachers must uphold professionalism and maintain boundaries with their students.
Duterte issued this reminder once again during the recent launch of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) website and the Learner Telesafe Contact Center national hotline that was held during the culmination of the 30th National Children’s Month at the Department of Education (DepEd) Central Office.
Duterte said she had to “deal with disturbing and painful stories about learners being victims of sexual abuse” when she took the DepEd portfolio last June.
“Some cases were classic examples of sexual grooming — a predatory activity primarily by adult offenders who use their position, resources, charm, and influence to carry out their plan against a child or another vulnerable adult,” she added.
In a bid to promote effective and efficient policies and programs, DepEd Order No. 49, s. 2022, an amendment of DO 47, had been released by the department. This was titled “Promotion of Professionalism in the Implementation and Delivery of Basic Education Programs and Services.”
Under the order, DepEd school officials and employees should “avoid relationships, interaction, and communication, including following social media with learners outside of the school setting, except if they are relatives.”
In the past months, public school teachers involved in allegedly sexually abusing students made headlines after victims came forward with their experiences by sharing them on social media.
During last week’s culmination of the National Children’s Month, Duterte highlighted anew the importance of teachers not having interaction with learners outside the classroom setup.
“Some do not understand my position with regard to professionalism. But truly, if you are a teacher, you have no business drinking alcohol with your students. And if you are a teacher and you are attracted to a student you are drinking with, that is preliminaries to what you want to do to the child,” Duterte said.
The Vice President explained teachers must be “professional” because they are “dispensing service to these students who are your clients, and therefore you have to be unbiased and you have to be a role model to them.
The DepEd launched the CPU website, which Duterte said will be the backbone of learners to know about safety threats and to whom they should call or communicate when threats happen.
The Learners TeleSafe Contact Center Helpline aims to address child abuse victims’ concerns, such as a possible backlash, victim shaming, or harsh physical punishment.
Duterte recalled her experience during her stint as Davao City mayor that led to the creation of the Kean Gabriel Hotline. Kean Gabriel was a child who died because of abuse.
“We always get deaths of children because of abuse — ginulpi, pinahirapan, and pinatay (beaten, punished, and killed). I was asking our City Social Welfare and Development Office, “Bakit dumarating tayo pag patay na ang bata? Bakit hindi ninyo alam (Why do we arrive when the child is dead? Why you don’t know) that there is something happening already in the houses in the community?,” she said.
“I told them to create an anonymous way where people can report. I won’t have to tell who I am, I don’t have to tell you my name, I just have to tell you kung anong nangyayari sa bata and anong nangyayari sa bahay na iyan (what happened to the child and what happened to that house),” she added.
The lady official stressed the DepEd will be in the forefront of the campaign to prevent sexual abuse violence against children in schools.
“DepEd will ensure a safe and nurturing learning environment by strengthening child protection mechanisms in schools,” Duterte said.
“We look forward to working with our education champions, barangay leaders, civil society partners, and fellow child protection advocates to strengthen our Learners TeleSafe Contact Center Helpline, provide immediate assistance to our learner-victims, and bolster our existing intervention mechanism and referral system,” she added.
courtesy of MANILA BULLETIN
by Raymund Antonio
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