The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading a measure institutionalizing support and protection mechanisms for public school teachers and personnel in matters of student discipline for classroom management.
All 183 House Members present during the plenary voting approved House Bill No. 9065 or the proposed “Teachers Protection Act”, principally authored by Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT TEACHERS).
The bill aims to institutionalize measures to implement in all public schools clearly defined regulations on appropriate student behavior towards other students, teachers, and school staff, during classes, and within and outside school premises.
Likewise, it seeks to establish and maintain support systems, including training on classroom management and child discipline and legal assistance for teachers and school staff, who interact daily with students and thus find themselves in situations that could expose them to allegations of child abuse in the course of the discharge of their duties.
The measure declares that it is the State policy to promote and improve the working conditions of public school teachers and other school personnel, which are understood to determine whether or not the physical and emotional environments of children and teachers are conducive to learning and teaching.
It mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to issue the Guidelines on the implementation of Teacher Protection within 120 days from the effectivity of the Act.
The Teacher Protection or referred to as Guidelines shall detail 1) the rights and responsibilities of teachers with respect to student discipline and classroom management, to the end of fostering a positive school climate and safe environment conducive to instruction and learning; 2) permissible, appropriate, and effective responses and interventions that will address violations of school rules and regulations to be administered by teachers, the school head, and other school staff; and 3) a clear description of the disciplinary procedure and clear designation of the competent authorities to investigate, propose, and apply the responses and interventions.
The bill also provides that any act committed by a teacher or school staff pursuant to the disciplinary rules and procedures issued by the DepEd shall not be deemed as child abuse, cruelty, or exploitation as defined in Republic Act No. 7610 or the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”.
It directs the students, parents, teachers, other school personnel, and the community, represented by their respective organizations, as well as professionals in child behavior and social work to each have meaningful involvement in the formulation of the Guidelines.
The DepEd is likewise tasked to 1) provide explanations, trainings, and workshops to familiarize students and families with the guidelines, 2) explain the expectations of various sectors involved, and 3) describe the various preventive and positive responses and interventions that may be used.
Copies of the Guidelines shall be provided to each student as well as their parents or legal guardians at the beginning of each school year.
All employees of the DepEd Divisions shall annually receive instructions related to the specific contents of the Guidelines.
It is also the mandate of the DepEd to provide teachers the appropriate preservice and in-service trainings on child behavior and psychology, classroom management techniques, positive discipline, and other related fields, as well as on its Guidelines and the scope of their duties and responsibilities with respect to student discipline and classroom management.
Furthermore, the DepEd, with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), shall also ensure that there is a sufficient number of items for guideline counselors, who will serve as support personnel to teachers and school administrators in matters of student discipline.
Moreover, the DepEd shall provide such other mechanisms necessary to capacitate its teachers and other personnel on matters regarding child behavior and psychology, classroom management techniques, positive discipline, and other related fields.
In addition, the DepEd shall extend to teachers and other personnel the necessary protection, including legal assistance and representation in all cases related to student discipline and classroom management, including criminal and administrative charges of child abuse.
The bill prohibits any person, whether private or public and whether a party to the case or otherwise, to publicize a case during its pendency.
It also prohibits the disclosure to the public the identity of complainants and respondents, or information that may reasonably identify them during the pendency of the proceedings.
Violators of such provisions shall be subjected to appropriate administrative, civil, criminal, and other liabilities.
The DepEd shall issue its guidelines for the media with regard to the handling of cases within the contemplation of the Act.
The DepEd shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of the Act within 90 days after its effectivity. AF | LON