DepEd 7 head: Punishing erring students must not be vindictive

·3 min read

DEPARTMENT of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said that DepEd is “corrective and not vindictive” in dealing matters with erring students as the education official respected the administration of Abellana National School (ANS) in Cebu City in its decision to sanction its Grade 9 students who were reportedly involved in cyberbullying their Math teacher.

The students, who are still minors, were meted out a three-day suspension.

Jimenez said he respected ANS administration’s decision, saying it was the students’ first offense.

The school’s role is “to guide our learners, our students” and possibly “orient our parents to teach their children not to be that harsh,” Jimenez told SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.

Jimenez said they also “correct” teachers committted mistakes, but the DepEd does not terminate their service right away. He said they weigh both sides before reaching a decision.

Appeal

The DepEd 7 head appealed to the students to be more respectful of their teachers and understanding of the situation as both they and their teachers are in distance learning.

Jimenez said he understands that with the challenges the students have now, they wanted to go back to school for a face-to-face class, but he asked them to be patient. Ranting or cyberbullying cannot solve things effectively, he said.

“Before we react on something, we have to look into first what is really the root cause, what is the reason behind it, why it happen like that,” he said.

The alleged cyberbullying happened in a group chat among students and their mathematics teacher, who was later identified as Hans Machacon from ANS.

His daughter, Laire Marie, shared on her Facebook account screenshots of the group chat showing students swearing at their teacher over instructions for upcoming tests. SunStar decided to withhold the names of the students, reportedly in Grade 9 for they are still minors.

The ANS administration, last Friday, Oct. 1, said that it has “reached a verdict” after careful deliberation “in compliance with due process and thorough perusal of the School Discipline Rules of Procedure as stipulated in the 2000 DECS Service Manual Manual.”

“The decision is reached mindful of the welfare of all concerned. As a reminder, students are strongly advised to be keenly aware of their actions, whether personal or virtual, that can possibly hurt others and affect their status in this school. Proper decorum is a must. Empathy, kindness, and respect are basic virtues which are essential to become a contributing member of the society,” it said.

The ANS did not announce the students’ three-day suspension. It was Laire Marie.

In her Facebook post last Thursday, Laire Marie disagreed with the decision that what the students did to her father was only a minor offense and said they deserve a “longer suspension or dismissal.”

Prasing Machacon

Jimenez said he understood the feeling of Machacon’s daughter on the three-day suspension sanction; however, he said schools have their own student manual, which can be the basis in imposing sanctions after a violation had been committed.

He then praised Machacon for the way he responded with the students even with how the said chat conversation went.

He also appealed to the parents to help in the values formation of their children, which is also an integral part of the preparation for their future. / WBS

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