Baguio cops go proactive in fight vs bullying

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A BAGUIO schoolchild holding a copy of the antibullying notebook distributed by the Baguio police. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

BAGUIO CITY – How do you stop bullying in schools? Have police distribute notebooks to grade school pupils.

On Thursday, Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay, Baguio police director, and Senior Supt. Rodolfo Azurin, Benguet police director, distributed 1,000 notebooks to dependents of police studying in elementary schools in the city and Benguet.

The notebooks look innocuous enough, with the seals of both police offices printed on the cover. But the inside cover has 10 tips on how to avoid being a crime victim while the inside back cover features 10 antibullying tips.

The back cover has five suggestions for students to help the police stop bullying and crime. Below on the back cover are telephone numbers for emergency police assistance and the numbers of all police stations in Baguio and those of other government agencies.

For the Benguet version, listed are the numbers of police stations in each of the province’s 13 towns.

Cambay said the police thought of the idea after they received complaints from parents about their children being bullied by schoolmates.

He said gangs have proliferated in schools and have been recruiting not only high school students but also elementary pupils.

“Bullying and gangs can be related. Not only are some of the bullies members of gangs but some of those bullied join gangs to protect themselves. We want to stop this vicious cycle,” he said.

He said parents complained of theft and robbery inside classrooms and while on their way home, and that was why they included tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

As for the antibullying tips, Cambay said he consulted guidance counselors and social workers before coming out with these. Among the antibullying tips are walking away instead of confronting the bully and gaining confidence.

He also said that hiding the fact that a student is bullied is counterproductive. “You may not report the bullying immediately to the police but you have to tell an adult or someone you trust about your situation,” he said.

Including the police numbers in the notebooks is important because most students, even those in elementary school, have mobile phones, he said.

Cambay and Azurin decided to print an initial batch of 1,000 notebooks and distribute them to Philippine National Police dependents but they promised to print more if there is a demand from schools and other groups. Frank Cimatu, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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