Protected Children Vs. Abused Teachers
A Call for the Protection of our Teachers
By: Ysmael R. Draman
The Child Protection Policy (CPP) protects the school children from abuse; on the contrary, students use it as a shield to abuse their teachers.
The CPP otherwise known as “Policies and Guidelines on Protecting Children in School from Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Discrimination, Bullying and Other Forms of Abuse” signed by Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Armin Luistro on May 3, 2012, safeguarded the school children while it meant struggle to some, if not most teachers.
A lot of teachers do not favour the CPP but the answer solely directs us to the highest law of the land. The Constitution was very clear when it declared that the State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care, and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development. Taken from the Constitution and RA 9262 or the Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004, the policy guidelines have listed down the specific acts that constitute child abuse and violence, which public and private schools can use as a guide in addressing this silent but very real social problem.
The CPP is seen to be the answer to end abuse in the schools. School children, parents and teachers feel at ease in schools for the law staged peace within the school premises. The CPP protects the children from unfair and adverse treatment, whether physical or emotional.
Though this policy is favourable to the students, what about the teachers? What protection do they get against abusive and bully students? With the policy, teacher’s authority is compromised. Teachers have become the subject of abuse because unruly students can just misbehave knowing the teacher’s limitations brought about by the CPP. Students seem to have a license to shout at their teachers, utter bad words and even physically hurt their teachers, knowing well that when teachers fight back, the CPP would make them responsible. As such, teachers would just keep themselves mum and think of it as part of the heroism they have to undertake in their chosen profession.
The teacher’s profession is a noble endeavor. Teachers are instruments in moulding attitudes and building lives. Behind every diploma is a teacher who educates and nurtures the holder. If a teacher has a problem student, then the school should have procedures for handling the difficulties. The teacher should not feel alone and vulnerable if a difficult situation arises. Professionalism cuts both ways: in the standards we demand of the teachers and the policies we have in support of them. The absence of a support mechanism impacts on the teacher’s performance resulting to acts of misconduct.
Records show that some of the mischiefs of teachers were the reasons why there were complaints against them. In an statistics published by the DepEd as to the Number of Child Abuse and Related Complaints Referred to Central Office from of August 2010, up to the present, there were 59 complaints recorded from 13 regions of which, 2 related cases were from Region 02. This record shows that abuses happen everywhere. The recorded abuses were consummated in varied forms, some of which are imposed as punishments to students.
In affirmation to the CPP, Section 8 of the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers likewise states that “ A teacher shall not inflict corporal punishment on offending learners nor make deductions from their scholastic ratings as a punishment for acts which are clearly not a manifestation of poor scholarship”. Some of the teachers charged with abuse have done it as punishment, some with the intention of disciplining students but under unfortunate circumstances, they became the victims of adversaries.
Apparently, up to what extend can a teacher impose discipline to his students? Paul Perspicacity made an advice in his article “Teaching Tips on How to Deal With Unruly Students”. First, Deal with Respect. Give this young and immature human beings love, respect, security and acknowledgement. Never demean them; never insult them; never yell at them. Second, Stay Calm and Quiet. You have to look them in the eye and clearly delineate what has displeased you, what rule they have broken, how they have caused a breach of peace. “
And if all these will not work at all, the teacher will experience the feeling of defeat. Therefore, the professional teacher must really prove his worth as God created him to be someone really very special.
A striking passage published in the internet by an anonymous author revealed that God created a very special person and named it a teacher. This is why according to him, God’s creation lasted for 8 days. For it was on the 8th day-that God created the FIRST TEACHER. The teacher was made more durable than other men and women. And into the TEACHER God poured a generous amount of patience. And God gave the TEACHER a heart slightly bigger than the average human heart big enough to love the kid who screams, and answers back. When God finished creating the TEACHER, God smiled, for he know that no matter how hard the job this Teacher is going to perform, he can always endure.
Teachers do struggle but their endurance is beyond limit. Teachers are under tremendous pressure to ensure that their students do well on standardized exams, and yet, are often given limited time and materials to accomplish this. The law does not make it easy for teachers to deal with rowdy students.
Teachers must often be very creative and diplomatic to maintain control. The system is, at best, characterized by unfairness. Despite this, many teachers carry on.
For this reason, in the October 3, 2012 issue of The Philippine Star published by Rainer Allan, a group of teachers urged DepEd officials to review its Child Protection Policy as it seem to prevent the teachers from instilling discipline in the classroom.
Benjo Basas, national president of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that under the policy, a teacher could be charged with child abuse for merely scolding a student in class. TDC claims that the policy could lead to ill-disciplined Filipino youth.
Our children need the CPP for their protection but our teachers do not need this system of unfairness. DepEd officials must review the CPP and looked into how the teacher’s welfare would fit in, or sensibly, to be fair and square: on one side, the Child Protection Policy (CPP); on the other side, the Teacher Protection Policy (TPP).
This is a call for the protection of our teachers, our heroes.