Cebu News

Behavioral assessment pushed in public schools

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — A behavioral assessment intervention is now being pushed for students in Cebu City’s public schools to check on the extent of behavioral health problems within the school community.

This was raised during the regular session of the Cebu City Council last Wednesday, April 17, 2024, following a report that was endorsed to the body on the investigation of a complaint of alleged physical abuse of a student by his teacher earlier this year.

The council received the letter that contained the transcript of the investigation following a complaint from parents of the public highschool student claiming that he was kicked by his teacher.

During the discussion about the case, Councilor Mary de los Santos, chairman of the Committee on Mental Health, raised a motion that urges the Department of Health (DOH)-7 and the Department of Education (DepEd)-7 to conduct an epidemiological survey in all public schools to assess the extent of the behavioral health problems of the school community.

The said survey will be done in all public schools offering grade school, junior, and highschool in Cebu City.

De los Santos also requested the City Health Department (CHD) through its behavioral health program division to coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) and convene the student assistance program team composed of the concerned agencies alongside school officials to assess the needs of the concerned student for better behavioral program intervention.

The report from the Legal Office of DepEd-7 dated February 27, 2024 presented their comprehensive fact-finding investigation on the alleged incident involving the teacher and his Grade-8 student at Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. Memorial National High School in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City.

Cited in the report, the DepEd Schools Division Office of Cebu City initiated a dialogue with the parties last February 23, 2024.

The incident reportedly took place last February 16, 2024 wherein the said student was kicked by his teacher allegedly out "of outburst of emotions due to the latter's series of behavioral misconduct".

"The mother admitted that her child is"bulayagon" and/or unruly. However, she asserts that she is trying her best to discipline her own child," cited in the report.

It further noted that the student reported the incident to the class president.

"There is de facto separation. The School Principal manifested the intention to listen to the sentiments of both parties at said conference. Despite the assurance from the School Principal that the concern will be elevated to the appropriate authorities of the Department of Education, the video was posted on social media," it also said.

The report also noted that during the conference, it was observed that there is no concrete testimony or direct evidence indicating that the student experienced any trauma because of the incident.

Further, there is no medico-legal report that has been submitted by the parents of the student.

The report also mentioned that the school principal emphasized that the student in question has been involved in multiple incidents within the school environment, "suggesting an ongoing need for intervention".

The teacher also argued that although he was influenced by his emotions that showed in his burst of anger against the student, "he did not have any intention of causing physical harm to the student learner".

"He was able to do such an act since the proximate result was the unruly behavior of the student," the report also reads.

Further, Councilor de los Santos urged the DSWS, in collaboration with the CHD, to come up with implementation guidelines of the city ordinance number 2691 in order to expedite its school implementation thus mitigating the negative impact of the various factors affecting students' behavioral health.

Approved last year, City ordinance 2691 establishes a student assistance program for all public schools offering elementary, junior and senior high school in the city. (CEBU NEWS)

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