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School bullies beware

Bullies beware.

With the signing of the Republic Act (RA) 10627 or the “Anti-Bullying Act of 2013”, the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to strictly implement anti-bullying policies to ensure that cases of bullying in elementary and secondary schools nationwide would be prevented and properly addressed.

The anti-bullying law, which was signed by President Aquino last Sept. 6, officially prohibits bullying in all elementary and high schools.

The law also mandates all elementary and secondary schools—both public and private—to adopt policies to prevent and address bullying in their respective institutions.

As defined in the RA 10627, bullying refers to “any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property; creating a hostile environment at school for the other students.” The act of bullying, the law stated, “also involves infringing on the rights of other students at school or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly preparation of a school.”

In an earlier interview, DepEd Assistant Secretary for Planning Jesus Mateo said that the Department fully supports and welcome the anti-bullying law. “We support it,” he said. “We already have an anti-bullying in the existing DepEd Child Protection Policy and we will further enhance the policy in accordance with the law,” he added. (Ina Hernando-Malipot)