DepEd ‘disturbed’ by stabbing of 13-year-old
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Education (DepEd) officials in the National Capital Region (NCR) and a teachers group have stressed the need to teach children about peace and mutual respect after a high school student was stabbed dead by his classmate at Culiat High School in Quezon City on Jan. 20.
“We are deeply saddened and disturbed that [a] violent incident such as this happened among our students inside the school which is supposed to be a safe place,” DepEd-NCR said in a recent statement as it offered assistance to the victim’s family.
“Follow-up stress debriefing sessions shall also be administered to students and teachers who witnessed the incident,” it added.
“In the aftermath of this violent incident inside the school, DepEd-NCR enjoins school administrators, teachers, nonteaching personnel, parents, students, and all stakeholders to work together in raising and educating children to become peace-loving and responsible members of the community,” it said.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) NCR Union also extended its condolences to the victim’s family as it noted that schools were supposed to be safe spaces both for teachers and learners.
“Quality education cannot occur in an atmosphere of anxiety, fear, and insecurity,” according to Ruby Bernardo, ACT NCR Union president.
“As such, inflicting violence against any member of the school community, whoever the perpetrators are, needs to be condemned in the strongest terms, and actions and thorough investigation need to be taken immediately,” she said.
The group also vowed to strengthen its efforts in teaching students about the consequences of bullying and school-related violence, as well as intensifying initiatives to build a “culture of dialogue, peace, respect for human rights and zero-tolerance to violence.”
Suspect in custody
Citing the report of the Schools Division Office of Quezon City, DepEd-NCR said that the student behind the stabbing was already in the custody of authorities.
It added that its Regional Interim Learners Rights and Protection Section would work with the Division Child Protection Unit and the School Child Protection Committee for intervention mechanisms to ensure that his studies would continue using alternative methods.
A report from the National Capital Region Police Office said that the 13-year-old victim was stabbed in the chest by his 15-year-old classmate in the school hallway around 5:45 am. on Jan. 20.
“Initial investigation disclosed that both [the] minor victim and suspect were classmates and had a misunderstanding due to jealousy,” it added.
Although the suspect fled, he was eventually caught by the police. The victim, on the other hand, was declared dead at 6:20 a.m. at the New Era General Hospital. His body was released at once to relatives in compliance with the Islamic tradition of immediate burial.
The stabbing prompted Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte to request a review of school policies and protocols to prevent it from happening again.
“I have ordered concerned offices of the city government to extend the necessary assistance to the victim’s family. We also assure the victim’s family that a thorough investigation will be conducted,” she said.
Review of security protocols
“The Schools Division Office is requested to review security protocols in schools and implement additional measures if warranted to avoid a repeat of such incident,” she added.
Authorities are currently investigating how the suspect was able to bring a weapon to school.
Earlier this month, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said that the majority of the complaints they received through the antichild abuse hotline were alleged bullying incidents.
“Latest data from the time that we launched (the hotlines) in November until December, we have had an additional 78 complaints filed through various means — email, Facebook chats, and also through phone calls,” he told reporters on Jan. 13.
The DepEd’s Learner Rights and Protection Office, formerly the Child Protection Unit, and Telesafe Contact Center Helpline were introduced to address child abuse and strengthen child protection in basic education.
Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte previously said that DepEd was considering adding the topic of “national culture of peace” to the K-12 curriculum.
Poa said there was no specific content yet as the details of its inclusion in the school curriculum were still being discussed.
“From the latest discussions, the plan is to just integrate that into the revised curriculum. It will be integrated but of course, nothing is final until we finish the study on it,” he said.
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