Rise in cyberbullying in school alarms PNP
As the Philippine National Police braces for the opening of classes next week, it has expressed alarm over the rising incidence of cyberbullying in school.
At a press briefing in Camp Crame on Thursday, Police Col. Bernard Banac, the PNP spokesperson, said some 120,000 police personnel would be deployed nationwide on Monday when millions of public elementary and secondary students were expected to troop back to school.
Aside from securing schools against threats of crime, Banac said the PNP has formed task units to address bullying on campus.
“For the previous school year 2018-2019, the PNP has recorded a total of 13 cases of cyberbullying,” Banac said. There were only nine cases in school year 2017-2018, he added.
“It is very important that these incidents [of bullying] are reported to the police so an investigation can be conducted and the suspects arrested,” Banac said, adding that cyberbullying has become the most common form of bullying among the youth.
“Bullying in schools are usually handled by guidance counselors or school authorities but cyberbullying happens outside school and falls within the jurisdiction of the PNP,” he said.
Banac said it was important for victims of all forms of bullying, particularly cyberbullying, to be accompanied by their parents or guardians in giving their statement to the police so that the cases could be properly addressed.
According to Police Col. Marvin Saro of the PNP Police Community Relations Group, bullying in schools is generally a violation of Republic Act No. 10627, or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.
“With basically minors involved, the jurisdiction falls on department heads of schools to give administrative sanctions on bullies. But in case bullying results in death or physical harm, the criminal aspect comes in and it falls under Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act,” Saro said.
In setting the guidelines for handling bullying cases in schools, the idea is to also spare bullies from being bullied themselves because they are still minors, he added.
Saro said the PNP had engaged in disseminating information in schools on what the public, specifically victims, could do in cases of bullying.
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