Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima proposed a measure seeking to protect teachers and other school personnel against false and malicious accusations, which could destroy their reputation.
De Lima filed proposed Senate Bill (SB) No. 2477 institutionalizing support mechanisms for public school teachers and school personnel in matters of student discipline and mechanisms for classroom management.
“With the advent of technology and social media, teachers, along with other school personnel, have become vulnerable to attacks and malicious and false accusations,” she said.
“While the protection of children must always be upheld, the scales of justice also dictate that teachers and school personnel must be clothed with the same mantle of protection,” she added.
In 2019, it may be recalled that a teacher was pressured to quit her job and give up her license on national television for millions of people to witness. The video eventually became viral, and made her an easy target for internet trolling and bashing.
De Lima, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said incidents similar to the aforementioned, where teachers are punished, forced to lose their job and standing in the community without the benefit of due process, are what SB No. 2477 intends to prevent.
“We can no longer allow our teachers to be subjected to similar attacks that threaten their role in raising the youth of this nation,” she said.
“They cannot be expected to help bring up and look after students with the risk of being humiliated for merely doing their job. We have to acknowledge that in discharging their functions, they cannot be intimidated by the possibility of being subjected to false and malicious accusations,” she added.
Under SB No. 2477, or the “Classroom Management Support and Protection for Teachers Act,” the Department of Education (DepEd) is mandated to formulate guidelines for classroom management for teachers and school personnel.
The said guidelines should include rules and regulations to be observed and the rights and responsibilities of teaching and non-teaching personnel, as well as permissible, appropriate, and effective responses and interventions that will address violations of school rules and regulations to be administered by teachers and other school staff.
Likewise, a clear description of the disciplinary procedure and clear designation of the authorities competent to investigate, propose, and apply the responses and interventions should be included in the guidelines.
As teachers and school personnel exercise their mandate, De Lima maintained that “they must be afforded with enough power to discipline the students within the bounds of law without the fear of becoming prey to the wrath of trial by publicity.”
Under the proposed measure, DepEd is also mandated to provide teachers the appropriate pre-service and in-service training on child behavior and psychology, classroom management techniques, positive discipline, and other related fields.
Highlighting the importance of SB No. 2477, De Lima stressed that in case of demonstrably false and malicious imputations or assertions especially, teachers and school personnel suffer the wrath even years after the words are uttered and made public.
“For even when they would eventually be exonerated, their career will already have been permanently blighted by these allegations which will remain within the records, and may even be shared over and over again despite already proving their innocence,” she said.
“Gaya ng ibayong dedikasyon na ipinapamalas nila sa pag-aruga at paghubog sa kaalaman ng ating mga anak, suklian din sana ng Estado ng karampatang proteksyon at kalinga ang ating mga guro at kawani ng paaralan upang mas masigasig pa nilang magampanan ang kanilang tungkulin para sa kabataan at sa bayan,” De Lima said.