EDITORIAL - Bullied
(The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2015 - 10:00am

Every day in this country, 31 incidents of bullying are reported in schools. The daily average, as recorded by the Department of Education, could be higher since many victims of bullying may be reluctant to report the assaults.

The DepEd report, made available to the House of Representatives, is a cause for deep concern. As in other countries, bullying in school, even when it does not involve physical violence, can be just as harmful and, in certain cases, can be deadly. In recent years, student suicides attributed to bullying in schools have been reported in this country.

The Internet and social media have facilitated bullying, with parents and school administrators unfamiliar with the technology and unprepared to deal with the problem. The DepEd report should lead to better ways of discouraging bullying and assisting victims.

Last year, the department recorded 6,363 complaints about bullying in both public and private elementary and high schools, or an average of 31 cases for each of the 201 school days. The number was about 21 percent higher than the 5,236 complaints recorded in 2013.

In May 2012, the DepEd had directed schools to set up child protection committees to discourage bullying, discrimination, exploitation, violence and other forms of abuse. In 2013, the Anti-Bullying Law or Republic Act 10627 was enacted. The twin measures may have encouraged more victims to report cases of bullying and other forms of abuse last year. But the thousands of recorded cases indicate that more effort is needed to prevent bullying.

School authorities and parents need training in responding to the problem, including spotting victims who are scared to complain. Parents, teachers and school administrators need training particularly in dealing with bullying through social media, which has driven students in other countries to commit suicide.

There are measures to protect school children from armed violence, drug dealers, muggers and other criminals as well as certain types of accidents. As DepEd records show, however, sometimes the most worrisome threats are posed by fellow school children. Authorities need to improve responses to these threats.

ANTI-BULLYING LAW BULLYING CASES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DEPED HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN MAY RECORDED REPORT REPUBLIC ACT SCHOOL
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