Poe files bill for teacher protection vs baseless student discipline charges

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2019 01:17 PM

MANILA - A bill seeking to protect public school teachers and personnel facing criminal and administrative charges for disciplining students has been filed at the Senate.

Sen. Grace Poe on Monday filed Senate Bill No. 1189 or the Teacher Protection Act, which tasks the Department of Education to provide "necessary protection, including but not limited to legal assistance and representation" to teachers in relation to student discipline. 

"The ambiguity of permissible teacher conduct in the context of student discipline and classroom management hurts the school system. This difficulty is worsened by the fact that many teachers do not receive institutional training in the right strategies that will allow them to property manage student-behavioral troubles," Poe said in the explanatory note on the bill. 

She cited how the lack of licensed guidance counsellor in school "compound the problem." 

"Through mandating the issuance of a teacher's manual and provision of preservice and in-service training on child behavior and psychology, effective classroom management and appropriate disciplinary techniques, the bill seeks to lay down an overdue institutionalized support mechanism for our public school teachers and personnel," she said. 

The bill proposes the crafting of a teacher's manual that lays down, among others, "disciplinary action to be taken against students who are found to have made malicious accusations of child abuse against teachers and school staff."

It also says "any act committed by a teacher or school staff pursuant to the disciplinary rules and procedure issued by the Department 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."

Under the measure, DepEd shall ensure that there is 1 guidance counselor for every 200 students in public and private primary and secondary schools.

DepEd must also train its teachers and other personnel on matters regarding child behavior and psychology, classroom management techniques, and positive discipline, among others.

-- Report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News