MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) on Sunday urged schools, communities, parents, and the media to help end bullying in schools after an Ateneo high school student was dismissed for involvement in a caught-on-cam bullying incident that spread on social media.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the dismissal was "only the first step" in resolving what she described as "this lingering and long-standing challenge."
"The issue of bullying is not just a problem of ADMU [Ateneo de Manila University] which can be solved by the dismissal of a student. It is also the problem of society itself," Briones said in an audio statement sent to media.
She called the viral incident a "wake-up call" for the community, adding there are other incidents in the Ateneo campus and in other schools.
"In this particular case, public rage was really ignited and we hope this will lead to more care, more watchfulness, more caring for all learners whether they have problems or not," she said.
Briones recommended to the Ateneo and other private institutions to review and align their protocols for bullying cases with the anti-bullying law and the DepEd's own protocols.
She also called for more coordination and exchange of experiences among private and public schools.
The secretary also encouraged the media to bring out more stories of bullying to the public.
Briones urged teachers to take action when they encounter bullying incidents by informing parents and school officials.
"This is not just a case pertaining to a young person in ADMU, although several young persons in ADMU were terribly hurt and really, physically, as well as psychologically damaged.
"But this is all about education, this is all about nurturing our learners, and this is where all of us come in," she said.