DepEd Comes Out with Landmark Child Protection Guidelines

 What constitutes child abuse? How do we protect children from violence and exploitation? Public and private schools can find the answer in the landmark Child Protection Policy and Guidelines developed by the Department of Education in partnership with members of civil society groups, teachers groups, private and public school representatives, international agencies and other child protection advocates.

DepEd’s Policies and Guidelines on Protecting Children in School from Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Discrimination, Bullying and Other Forms of Abuse is launched today by Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC at the DepEd Central Office.

Luistro said every child is protected by the Constitution from unfair and adverse treatment whether physical or emotional. “The objective of the policy is to observe and promote zero tolerance on any act of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, bullying and other forms of abuse in school,” he said.

The Constitution is very clear when it declares 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.

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 guidelines aim to protect the child from all forms of violence that may be inflicted by adults, persons of authority as well as their fellow students, including bullying.

One of the duties of DepEd as stipulated in the guideline is to develop information, education, reporting system, exercise of disciplinary action and recommendation to address and prevent all forms of child abuse.

The guidelines likewise call for the establishment of Child Protection Committee in all public and private elementary and secondary schools composed of school officials, teachers, parents, students, and a community representative. Its duty is to draft a school child protection policy with a code of conduct and a plan to ensure child protection and safety which shall be reviewed every three years.

“The CPC needs the cooperation of all education stakeholders because what is at stake here is the welfare of the child and the stability of the community,” Luistro explained.

Luistro added that all public and private elementary and secondary schools shall build the capabilities of school personnel, students and parents to understand and deal with child abuse by conducting trainings and seminars on positive peer relationship and enhancement of social and emotional competence.

To achieve this, Luistro urged the use of training modules which include positive and non-violent discipline in the classroom as well as anger and stress management and gender sensitivity.

They shall likewise employ means which will enhance the skills and pedagogy in integrating and teaching children’s rights in the classroom.