Classes suspended for probe into students’ bizarre behavior
Liv G. Campo (The Freeman) - March 16, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Education has suspended classes at Jagobiao National High School in Mandaue City for the rest of the week a day after almost 20 of its students went hysterical during a Mass.

In an interview with dyAB, DepEd Mandaue City Supt. Arden Monisit said he decided to suspend classes while investigation is being undertaken into the incident. He said it is important that the incident be looked into properly so that the students will no longer fear when classes resume.

The investigation will determine if the incident was psychological, spiritual, or even medical in nature. Monisit said the Department of Health and the Church have been asked to help in the assessment.

In an interview with dyLA also yesterday, Dr. Estela Susvilla, Mandaue City Assistant Schools Division Superintendent, said Jagobiao officials, parents and teachers, agreed to suspend classes during meeting yesterday morning.

 Marilou Silawan, a vendor at the area, told The Freeman she and the other vendors could hear the students’ shouts and cries from inside the school.

 “Mikalit lang bitaw sila’g syagit. Nagmisa man gud nya di man mi kahibaw kung naunsa gud niya mokalit man sad silag hilak, mosyagit… maong dad-on lang pud sa office kanang palingkuron lang sila ni Ma’am ba,” she said.

The Mass was celebrated prior to the school’s cheerdance competition. Following the incident, worship songs had to be played through the school’s public address system.

 Reporters tried to interview the principal, Rufino Tudlasan, yesterday but were refused entry into campus.

 A fourth year student said Tuesday that the first shouts came from a female student, which rippled to other students. The students’ voices reportedly changed and one of them reportedly said a spirit would take one of the female students with him.

 Many believed the students who were “possessed” took part in cutting a tree inside the school without asking permission from the “occupant” of that tree.

According to folklore, old trees are inhabited by spirits that to cut them without prior permission can lead to accidents or untoward incidents to those who did it.

Fr. Reynaldo Cui, spiritual adviser, said earlier there are “symptoms” to consider so that a case is a “certified case of demonic possession,” one of which is that the subject of the supposed possession could speak different languages he was not versed with prior to the incident. Another is when the subject of the possession suddenly possesses a telekinetic effect power, which enables him to move things far from his grasp.

If none of the symptoms is present, the case could be a “psychological condition.” The spread of the behavior from one student to another may be a case of “emotion contagion,” which is “natural response” among people when they see someone getting hysterical. — (FREEMAN)

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