Quantcast

Editorial

Battling bullies


What makes bullying so terrible is that it takes something full of brightness—childhood—and buries it in darkness. Bullying is a sordid reality in our schools that has caused many children deep suffering and distress. There are too many instances of children being so harassed that they become physically ill—or worse.

It’s time bullying was regarded as what it is: aberrant behavior. This month, St. Louis University Laboratory Elementary School (SLU-LES) in Baguio City has been leading the way in acknowledging and addressing the problem. Students are encouraged to speak up about and against bullying and to engage in such activities as wearing symbolic ribbons, watching useful films, and making posters on the issue. “We want students to know that disrespecting their schoolmates is not allowed in school,” said SLU-LES principal Allan Padan. This is the second annual observance of SLU’s antibullying campaign.

SLU guidance counselor Macrina Barrozo was correct to point out that “bullying is not normal and is not part of growing up.” She noted bullying’s “bad effects, among them giving a person low self-esteem and pushing him or her to rebel.” She warned that a bullied person would “eventually bully someone weaker out of revenge.”

The situation gets worse when violence is confused with “coming of age,” and peer pressure is legitimized. Bullying has become such a problem in schools that the Department of Education issued a policy against it last May. Signed by Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Department Order No. 40, also known as the DepEd Child Protection Policy, states the DepEd’s “zero tolerance policy for any act of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, [and] bullying,” and lays down guidelines for dealing with such abuse, including cyberbullying.

The DepEd issued the order after more cases of bullying came to light, including the high-profile incident involving a father threatening his son’s classmate at Colegio San Agustin in Makati City. According to Luistro, when dealing with bullying, one must “heal the aggression that’s in our hearts and minds.”

The campaign against bullying is being backed by other government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education, which monitors incident reports and encourages the creation of student crime prevention councils in schools with government guidance. Local governments have joined the campaign, with the Quezon City government passing Ordinance SP-2157, or the Anti-Bullying Ordinance. Bulacan has passed its own provincial ordinance against bullying, which, it noted, has “reached alarming proportions.”

In the United States, bullying has become such a plague that as early as 2011, President Barack Obama spoke out against it at a White House gathering intended to inspire antibullying endeavors all over the country. “If there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” Obama said. First Lady Michelle Obama added: “It breaks our hearts to think that any child feels afraid every day in the classroom, on the playground, or even online.”

Last year, the US nongovernmental organization Advertising Council led an antibullying campaign called “Be More Than a Bystander.” It was supported by TV, print and online ads, which advised witnesses what they could do about bullies, including reporting it to an adult. A helpful website, StopBullying.gov, states: “Kids see bullying every day. They want to help, but don’t know how. Teach them how to be more than a bystander.”

There’s no exact count of bullied victims in the Philippines. Most children are afraid to talk about it, but hopefully that will change. Last year, the Philippine Pediatric Society started a hotline (926-6758) that connects victims of bullying with professionals who can help them—an important step in an age where bullying has migrated online. The House of Representatives has also passed House Bill No. 5496, or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2012, but it has yet to be passed by the Senate.

Both the government and the private sector now have bullying in their crosshairs. Small efforts such as SLU’s must be commended and augmented by each of us, adults and young people alike. We must recognize bullying as the scourge that it is and take concrete, resolute steps to stamp it out.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=45663

Tags: bullying , children , editorial , education , opinion , SLU-LES , St. Louis University Laboratory Elementary School



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Militants kill 14 Algerian soldiers in ambush
  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land
  • Transcript reveals confusion over ferry evacuation
  • Sports

  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace