MANILA - A values educator on Friday said there seems to be "very strong grounds for expulsion" of the perpetrator of a bullying incident at the Ateneo Junior High School.
Fr. Tito Caluag said a private school can ask a student to leave if his behavior is in conflict with the school's core values.
"Everything that people are discussing, if totoo yung sinasabi nila then I think you have very strong grounds for expulsion. Kasi a private school, meron silang karapatan na i-request ang bata na umalis kung nagko-conflict na sa values ng eskwelahan," Caluag told radio DZMM.
Caluag, who was a former high school principal, said this was what happened several decades ago at the Catholic school he worked for.
"Many years ago, way before my time, may isang batang pinaglaruan yung consecrated host. Umabot sa korte. Ang ruling ng court kapag yung core values ng eskwelahan ang na-violate then yung eskwelahan meron siyang karapatan na ihiwalay yung bata," he said.
(Many years ago, way before my time, a child played with the consecrated host. It went up to the court. The court ruled that if the core values of the school was violated, it has a right to separate the child.)
"Kasama nung ruling na yun dahil kapag pumasok ka sa isang eskwelahan, na klaro ang core values and principles, in a sense you’re saying you agree with these."
(It was included in the ruling that if you enroll in a school whcih has clear core values and principles, in a sense you're saying you agree with these.)
Caluag, meanwhile, stressed the importance of how school authorities will handle the bullying incident.
"The handling and solution of this is very important kasi (because) it will send a message beyond the confines of the school involved," he said.
"There should be healing but there should also be justice."
The Ateneo de Manila University had said an investigation is ongoing and that it will not "hesitate to impose the penalty of dismissal or even expulsion in cases of grave misconduct."
Tina Zamora, a family life and child development specialist, said the incident should be treated privately because those involved were all minors.
"Ang processing nito dapat hindi pinaghaharap ang mga pamilyang concerned at mga batang concerned para makafocus tayo on one child at a time," Zamora told radio DZMM.
(The processing of this shouldn't include having the families and children concerned face each other in order to focus on one child at a time.)
"Hindi mo pwede ipwersa ang (You can't force) forgiveness... Forgiveness is really a journey for everybody. Ang una talaga dito ay iprocess ang kanilang emotions (The first thing here is to process their emotions)."
Zamora urged parents to connect with their children and build trust.
"Kailangan may koneksyon tayo sa ating mga anak para bukas ang kanilang puso at isipan sa atin. Trust and connection," she said.
(We have to connect with out children so that their hearts and minds are open to us. Trust and connection.)