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DepEd Child Protection Policy
Policy and Guidelines on Protecting Children in School from Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Discrimination, Bullying and Other Forms of Abuse
I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 1. Short Title
This Department Order shall be known as the "DepEd Child Protection Policy."
Section 2. - Statement of Policy
Pursuant to the 1987 Constitution, the State shall defend the right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development (Article XV, Section 3 ).
The Constitution further provides that all educational institutions shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge, and promote vocational efficiency. (Article XIV, Section 3 ).
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) aims to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment and exploitation, including sexual abuse. The same Convention establishes the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively, and on the basis of equal opportunity, it obliges the government to take measures to encourage regular attendance in school and reduce drop-out rates. Thus, it is mandated that all appropriate measures be undertaken to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity, and in conformity with the CRC.
Towards this end, the Department of Education (DepEd), in collaboration with its partners and stakeholders, shall ensure that all schools are conducive to the education of children. The best interest of the child shall be the paramount consideration in all decisions and actions involving children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities, and legislative bodies, consistent with the principle of First Call for Children, as enunciated in the CRC. Teachers and learning facilitators especially in learning centers are their substitute parents, and are expected to discharge their functions and duties with this in mind. In this connection, the Family Code empowers the school, its administrators and teachers, or the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care to exercise the special parental authority and responsibility over the child, while under their supervision, instruction or custody.
The Department recognizes that cases of abuse may arise as a result of the difficult situations faced by teachers and other officials within and outside school.
DepEd has adopted the policy to provide special protection to children who are gravely threatened or endangered by circumstances which affect their normal development and over which they have no control, and to assist the concerned agencies in their rehabilitation.
Furthermore, this Department aims to ensure such special protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation and care as is necessary for the child's well-being, taking into account the primary rights and duties of parents, legal guardians, or other individuals who are legally responsible and exercise custody over the child. DepEd recognizes the participatory rights of the child in the formulation and implementation of policies, and in all proceedings affecting them, whether they be victims or aggressors, either directly, or through a representative.
Accordingly, this Department reiterates a zero tolerance policy for any act of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, bullying and other forms of abuse, and hereby promulgates this Department Order.
Section 3. - Definition of Terms
A. "Child" - refers to any person below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition; (RA 7610). For purposes of this Department Order, the term also includes pupils or students who may be eighteen (18) years of age or older but are in school.
B. "Children in School" - refers to bona fide pupils, students or learners who are enrolled in the basic education system, whether regular, irregular, transferee or repeater, including those who have been temporarily out of school, who are in the school or learning centers premises or participating in school-sanctioned activities.
C. "Pupil, Student or Learner" - means a child who regularly attends classes in any level of the basic education system, under the supervision and tutelage of a teacher or facilitator.
D. "School Personnel" - means the persons, singly or collectively, working in a public or private school. They are classified as follows:
E. "Child Protection" - refers to programs, services, procedures and structures that are intended to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination and violence.
F. "Parents" - refers to biological parents, step-parents, adoptive parents and the common-law spouse or partner of the parent;
G. "Guardians or Custodians" - refers to legal guardians, foster parents, and other persons, including relatives or even non-relatives, who have physical custody of the child.
H. "School Visitor or Guest" - refers to any person who visits the school and has any official business with the school, and any person who does not have any official business but is found within the premises of the school. This may include those who are within the school premises for certain reasons, e.g. student teachers, catechists, service providers, suppliers, bidders, parents and guardians of other children.
I. "Child Abuse"- refers to the maltreatment of a child, whether habitual or not, which includes any of the following:
J. "Discrimination against children" - refers to an act of exclusion, distinction, restriction or preference which is based on any ground such as age, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, being infected or affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), being pregnant, being a child in conflict with the law, being a child with disability or other status or condition, and which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and freedoms.
K. "Child exploitation" - refers to the use of children for someone else's advantage, gratification or profit often resulting in an unjust, cruel and harmful treatment of the child. These activities disrupt the child's normal physical or mental health, education, moral or social emotional development. It covers situations of manipulation, misuse, abuse, victimization, oppression or ill-treatment.
There are two (2) main forms of child exploitation that are recognized:
L. "Violence against children committed in schools" - refers to a single act or a series of acts committed by school administrators, academic and non-academic personnel against a child, which result in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or other abuses including threats of such acts, battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:
M. "Bullying or Peer Abuse" - refers to willful aggressive behavior that is directed, towards a particular victim who may be out-numbered, younger, weak, with disability, less confident, or otherwise vulnerable. More particularly:
N. "Other acts of abuse by a pupil, student or learner"- refers to other serious acts of abuse committed by a pupil, student or learner upon another pupil, student or learner of the same school, not falling under the definition of `bullying' in the preceding provisions, including but not limited to acts of a physical, sexual or psychological nature.
O. "Corporal Punishment" - refers to a kind of punishment or penalty imposed for an alleged or actual offense, which is carried out or inflicted, for the purpose of discipline, training or control, by a teacher, school administrator, an adult, or any other child who has been given or has assumed authority or responsibility for punishment or discipline. It includes physical, humiliating or degrading punishment, including, but not limited to the following:
P. "Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children" -is a way of thinking and a holistic, constructive and pro-active approach to teaching that helps children develop appropriate thinking and behavior in the short and long-term and fosters self-discipline. It is based on the fundamental principle that children are full human beings with basic human rights. Positive discipline begins with setting the long-term goals or impacts that teachers want to have on their students' adult lives, and using everyday situations and challenges as opportunities to teach life-long skills and values to students.
II. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Section 4. Central Office
The DepEd Central Office shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
A. Develop a policy and guidelines for the prevention of violence against children in schools and make these available to all schools;
B. Conduct a nationwide information dissemination and campaign on violence prevention programs for children and research-based best practices for teachers, which are intended to promote new techniques, methodologies and research related to teaching, classroom management, child development, positive and non-violent discipline;
C. Devise programs, campaigns and activities through the Offices of the Undersecretary for Programs and Projects and Regional Operations, to raise consciousness, mobilize and educate the students, parents, teachers, community, local government units and other stakeholders in addressing child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination and bullying; and
D. Formulate a system of standard reporting, prescribe standards and procedures for monitoring and evaluation, and maintain the central repository of Regional Reports (Annex "A") on incidents and cases of child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, bullying and other acts of abuse, through the Office of the Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs.
You can download the full copy of the DepEd Child Protection Policy by clicking the link below:
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