[Press Release] TDC proposes solutions to ‘teacher-shaming’

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) proposes several measures to end “teacher-shaming” as they welcome the Department of Education (DepEd) investigation on the incident involving a Manila public school teacher being embarrassed on a live TV. Benjo Basas, the group’s national chairperson said, “This and other incidents should be taken seriously by the DepEd. We call on our Secretary Leonor Briones to make necessary steps to protect and defend our teachers as well.”

The said incident which has become viral for several days now is the cause of a spontaneous and unanimous fury of public school teachers with netizens on their side. In an episode entitled “Mommy, Ipina-Tulfo ang Pasaway na Teacher ng Kanyang Anak!” aired last Monday, November 18, the host acted on a complaint of a grandmother against the teacher of her grandchild for allegedly shaming and hurting the pupil. The child’s parents also appeared on the show where they repeatedly asked for justice thru the revocation of the teacher’s license to teach. The host agreed with the parents and even said that the child may suffer trauma. He then called the teacher and made a live phone patch conversation. At the end of the interview, the host gave the teacher the options- either she voluntarily gives up her job and licenses to teach or face the consequence of prison term because of child abuse. The poor teacher readily agreed.

Yesterday, Mr. Raffy Tulfo the host of that hugely popular TV 5 program Raffy Tulfo in Action made some ‘apologetic’ statements and said that he will no longer pursue the case and will just facilitate the settlement of both parties. According to our sources from the teacher’s school in Manila, the teacher and the child’s mother have already settled their dispute after a meeting with some DepEd-Manila officials also yesterday, without the presence of media people.

It may be the end of the story for the mother and the teacher. But the TDC said that the incident is no isolated. “In many circumstances, teachers accused of violation of children’s rights have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, extortion, physical threat and some kind of media sensationalization. Teachers are often left in a disadvantaged position whenever a case is filed against them. Legal assistance, especially those of private lawyers is not readily available for teachers. In some cases, teachers are forced to enter into an unfair settlement or worse, resign or face the court battle.” Basas explained.

He continued, “In light of this issue, we would like to reiterate that teachers, in general, would never want to cause any harm- physically, emotionally or mentally to the children. The main duty of our teachers is to teach and the teaching environment should be conducive. Thus, some sort of discipline is necessary.”

However, the group said that teachers are subjected to many regulations that are used or misused against them. “We have the RA 7610, the DepEd Child Protection Policy and other laws which we recognize and respect. Unfortunately, these laws are used to harass, threaten and intimidate the helpless teachers and in some cases, extort money from them.” Basas exclaimed.

The TDC, Basas said denounces old ways of disciplining children, particularly physical, verbal and psychological punishment especially in a teaching-learning situations and regard these methods of imposing discipline as outdated and ineffective.

“As teachers, we want to ensure the welfare of schoolchildren, but it should not be at our expense. We have to take into consideration all the factors in school situation.” He added.

The group then listed some of its recommendations for the consideration of the DepEd and other policy-making bodies:

• Reduction of class size to a maximum of 30 students per classroom;

• Provision of sick and vacation leave benefits for classroom teachers;

• Creation of more SPED centers and hiring of SPED teachers based on the needs;

• Professionalization of school guidance and counseling system and hiring of registered guidance counselors with higher salary grade based on their qualification;

• Institutionalization of alternative school discipline policies agreed by parents, teachers, and learners;

• Amendment of certain penal provisions of RA 7610 especially in the school setting;

• Protection of teachers from harassment, intimidation, physical threat, extortion, media sensationalization and assigning of a defense lawyer for public school teachers facing criminal charges;

• Review of the DepEd Child Protection Policy and crafting of another policy to protect the teachers as well.

TDC asks the policy-makers to ensure that no teacher will be put in a disadvantaged situation should they make any policy for the welfare of children. “We must, at all times be sure that the rights and welfare of teachers be protected in the same weight as we protect the children.” Basas continued.

Lastly, the group calls on Sen. Angara to withdraw his proposal and start discussing the issues with the teacher sector, one of his major political bases last elections.

“We still believe that he is for the education sector. We hope that he would immediately withdraw this bill and put the welfare of teachers- the heart of education in paramount consideration.” Basas ended. #

Reference: Benjo Basas, 09273356375

https://www.facebook.com/teachers.dignity/

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