Parents urged to file complaints over 'bag burning' at Bicol school

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Parents urged to file complaints over 'bag burning' at Bicol school
A video showing students of Bicol Central Academy watching their confiscated bags go up in flames for allegedly violating the school’s “no-bag policy” went viral over the weekend.
Twitter.com / Surrearlism

MANILA, Philippines — Although the Department of Education is already looking into reports of a school administrator setting fire to bags and other items confiscated from students of a Camarines Sur school, the students' parents should also file their own complaints.

A video that went viral over the weekend showed students of Bicol Central Academy, a private school, watching as their confiscated bags went up in flames. The bags were allegdly burned because the school has a "no-bag" policy.

The administrator allegedly ordered the destruction of bags containing school items, garments and gadgets like mobile phones and laptops.

In a statement, DepEd said Secretary Leonor Briones has ordered its regional office to conduct a thorough investigation.

“[T]he school administrator of BCA called the Schools Division Superintendent of Camarines Sur to explain the incident last August 18, a written response which the education chief demanded has yet to be submitted,” DepEd said.

If the accountability of the administrator is established, the department can suspend or revoke the school’s permit to operate and disqualify the school from participating in the Education Service Contracting and Senior High School Voucher Program.

Another possible sanction is the non-issuance of recommendation for tax exemption like import duties.

DepEd, moreover, advised the parents of the affected students to file complaints or administrative charges against the school administrator with the proper authorities.

"While DepEd's Child Protection Policy requires a complaint for child abuse or violence to be filed with the school head of private schools, parents of the affected students are advised to file complaints or administrative charges against the school administrator with the proper authorities," it said.

In a separate statement, DepEd Region V Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad said “there was a clear manifestation of child abuse and a violation of our child protection policy.”

The video caught the angry administrator shouting at students and calling them stupid as flames engulfed the bags.

DepEd promised a just and fair investigation as it recommended that the school board go on leave.

“The department is committed to the full and strengthened implementation of the Child Protection Policy and to ensuring that learners are in a school environment that does not make light of their rights, safety and dignity,” DepEd said.

It added: “We will not hesitate to impose the necessary sanctions on those who are proven to have violated the said policy.”

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