DepEd probes burning of schoolbags in CamSur school
The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday said it would look into the photos and videos posted online that showed the burning of confiscated schoolbags and valuables of private school students in Bicol, who allegedly violated a “no-bag” policy of the school.
In a video that is making the rounds on social media, an administrator of the Bicol Central Academy (BCA), later identified as Alexander James Jaucian, was also heard berating students, calling them “stupid.”
Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the school division superintendent of Camarines Sur had already written to BCA, a local private school in Libmanan town in Camarines Sur, demanding an investigation and a written explanation of the incident.
“It was received by BCA yesterday (Saturday). They are given three days to comply,” she said.
Sevilla earlier said DepEd-Bicol and other regional counterparts were already doing a fact-finding investigation.
The DepEd-Bicol will review its policies to see if sanctions can be imposed on BCA regarding its school permit to operate and its other benefits from the government.
DepEd Bicol Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad said his office was deeply saddened with the development and investigations were now in progress.
“There was a clear violation of our child protection policy,” Sadsad said in a statement sent to Inquirer.
“For child abuse, we will recommend to [a] certain group or agency like [the Department of Social Welfare and Development] for criminal charges, but this is still to be studied,” Sadsad said.
The social media firestorm began after Earl Vincent Cañaveral, reportedly a BCA alumnus, uploaded on Twitter the photos and videos that showed the torched bags in the school quadrangle.
“Bags of students who failed to comply with the no-bag policy set for the school’s event today have been confiscated and burned,” he said, adding that the bags contained laptops, cell phones, clothes and other school materials.
No bags on Tatsumaki Day
He added the supposed policy was placed for the school’s “Tatsumaki Day,” when the students were tasked to act as teachers while their teachers were in a conference.
As the bags burned in front of the students, the school head, presumably Jaucian, yelled: “You’re going to leave the line? Just stay there! … Why, you left your phones there? Well, you’re stupid!”
A grade 11 BCA student, who asked not to be named, said Jaucian had forbidden them from carrying big bags or backpacks to school on Tatsumaki Day as it would “not look good on their business attire.”
“When he (Jaucian) arrived, he was angry especially after he saw some students not wearing the required business attire,” she said.
She added that they were shocked when Jaucian suddenly ordered to throw the bags in the trash.
“He was not contented with that so he ordered the bags burned,” she said.
According to her, the school head was used to giving severe punishments to students.
“Most of my schoolmates who were victims (of the torching) are scared to talk and there are students who do not want to go to school anymore,” she said. —With reports from Rey Anthony Ostria, Ma. April Meer, Inquirer Southern Luzon and Cedrix Perez
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