Protect child’s privacy in bullying incidents, CHR tells public

MANILA Amid the recent bullying incident at the Ateneo Junior High School that drew intense negative reaction in the social media, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday reminded the public, as well as the media, to protect the privacy of children involved in any bullying reports.

In its official page, CHR issued an advisory citing provisions from the Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, which was passed in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"It is imperative that the right to privacy and confidentiality of all children involved must always be protected, not only by the school administrations, the parents, other parties concerned, the media, as well as users of social networks, the rights body said.

CHR said the schools are the primary institutions responsible in educating children against bullying and crafting policies to address such issues. "Intervention of school officials, especially if the bullying incident transpired in the school premises, is needed to adequately address and if possible, to eliminate the same, the rights body added.

Videos showing a junior high school student of the Ateneo de Manila University beating several boys went viral last Thursday.

In a statement Friday night, child's rights group Save the Children Philippines similarly called for the protection of privacy of all Ateneo high school students involved in the incident.

Wilma Banaga, Children Protection Advisor of Program Development Quality of Save the Children Philippines said sharing of the bullying videos and calling for harsh punishments for the child who committed the act constitute cyber-bullying in itself.

Save the Children Philippines believes that bullying should be taken seriously and immediately addressed by the school or community, and by the families of the children who are involved in this, she said.

Although schools can impose suspensions or expulsions if circumstances warrant it, the group hoped this kind of action would be the "last resort."

Banaga explained that "such disciplinary measures have been found to increase the risk of children experience negative outcomes later in life and do little to deter a student from misbehaving."

'Intervention for all involved'

Banaga said parents and school authorities need to identify the causes of a child's misbehaviors such as bullying to address violence against children in all settings.

Adults should also learn that interventions are instilled both to the child who was the target of bullying and the one who committed bullying, she said.

We need to understand that a child might bully another due to difficulties in managing anger, aggression, non-tolerance for individual differences, experiences of violence at home, or the lack of good role models at home, she said.

Bullying is a form of violence being experienced by three out of five Filipino children, according to the 2015 National Baseline Study on Violence against Children (NBSVAC) of the Council for the Welfare of Children. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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