Angara open to amend bill vs ‘bully’ teachers
Amid opposition from a teacher’s group, Senator Sonny Angara said he is open to amend his original proposal that seeks to punish school authorities and employees who commit acts of bullying against students.
“It’s good that some teacher’s groups are making their sentiments heard. We welcome it,” Angara said in a statement on Wednesday.
“There’s really a fine line between interfering with the teacher’s prerogative and ensuring our children’s safety given that there are reports of abuses and humiliations still being committed up to this day. Where to draw the line between disciplining and teacher bullying is something we have to discuss going forward,” he said.
The senator was reacting to the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition’s call for him to withdraw his bill that seeks to expand the coverage of the Anti-Bullying Act, saying this will “expose teachers to unfair treatment.”
But Angara said that filing the bill was just the first step of the process.
“We will of course consult with the teachers, the academe and with other stakeholders during the committee deliberations and hearings,” he said.
“What I want to stress is that we are open to amending the original proposal, if necessary. We are very much willing to listen to suggestions and helpful inputs that will help us improve and fine-tune the measure. After all, the ultimate goal of the bill, as with the original law, is to protect our children from violence and violent acts,” the senator pointed out.
In Senate Bill 2793, Angara proposed that teachers who bully their students should be penalized with a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 or by imprisonment from six months to a year, or both.
If the teacher’s disciplinary action pushes the student to commit suicide, the fine would range from P100,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment ranging from one to three years, or both. But if the suicide attempt leads to death, the penalty would be a fine of not less than P100,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment from three to six years or both. IDL