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Sunday, May 19, 2024

CHR backs DepEd measures vs. bullying

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday supported the Department of Education (DepEd) in its intention to train teachers and parents on how to spot the red flags of bullying among students and children.

“We commend DepEd’s initiative to train teachers and parents in recognizing the indicators and signs of bullying among students. This demonstrates our proactive approach to prioritizing mental health as an essential component of each student’s overall development,” the CHR said. 

The independent constitutional office noted it remains committed to its mandate of protecting the rights of everyone, particularly those who are victims of abuse.

“Bullying, harassment and other forms of abuse have no place in sanctuaries of learning. Furthermore, we reaffirm all Filipinos’ basic right to mental health, as well as the fundamental rights of those in need of mental health services,” the CHR added.

In November last year, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte said DepEd received 1,709 reports of various forms of abuse against students through their learner’s telesafe contact center helpline.

CHR raised concern that mental health is now a major issue in schools and the community as a whole. It said bullying and other forms of intimidation can have a significant impact on the academic and non-academic performance of children.

Bullying causes stress, anxiety, and other serious mental health problems among students that can impede their overall development. Such behavior directly infringes on their fundamental rights as it limits their access to education in a pleasant learning environment.

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that education shall be directed to the full development of one’s personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

CHR invoked Section 24 of Republic Act No. 11036, or the Mental Health Act, stating that educational institutions shall develop policies and programs for students, educators and other employees designed to: raise awareness on mental health issues, identify and provide support and services for individuals at risk, and facility access, including referral mechanisms of an individual with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support. 

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