Department of Education (DepEd) Spokesperson Atty. Michael Poa said that of the seven teachers accused of sexually harassing students at Bacoor National High School (BNHS) in Cavite, five were already served with formal charges of grave misconduct and violation of the child protection policy.
Poa also said that the Schools Division Office (SDO) in Cavite and DepEd’s legal department are still gathering more evidence for the other two.
“Naghihikayat po tayo sa mga victims nung alleged sexual harassment na lumabas para po makapagbigay ng kanilang affidavit, statement, or ebidensya, at para po mabigyan natin ng formal charge hindi lang itong pito, pati na rin yung iba,” Poa said.
(We are calling on the victims of the alleged sexual harassment case to speak out for them to give their affidavits, statements, or pieces of evidence so that we can proceed with formally charging not just these seven teachers, but others as well.)
The teachers were also suspended for 90 days and if found guilty, they could face the maximum penalty of dismissal from service, per the policy set under DepEd Order No. 40.
Less than two weeks ago, a viral social media post called out teachers at BNHS for alleged sexual exploitation and other inappropriate behavior. Other students and alumni of the school also followed suit, with some posts including screenshots of alleged attempts of teachers to sexually exploit their underage students.
In a statement posted on Thursday (September 8), DepEd reiterated its zero-tolerance policy for all forms of abuses perpetrated in schools.
“DepEd is taking all reports about sexual abuse and violence against our learners in schools seriously as we are determined to ensure that schools all over the country are safe spaces for our learners and free from sexual predators,” Poa said.
“We understand that reporting experiences of sexual abuse and violence are often hampered by fear and feeling of embarrassment, but we urge kindergarten to Grade 12 victim-survivors to report these incidents directly to the Office of the Secretary,” Poa added.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.
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