School heads told: In­ter­vene vs gangs

The Freeman - - NEWS - — May B. Mi­asco/GAN

With the pro­lif­er­a­tion of gangs that are re­port­edly re­cruit­ing mi­nor stu­dents in Cebu City, De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) of­fi­cials stressed the im­por­tant role of school heads to act and in­ter­vene to en­sure the safety and pro­tec­tion of stu­dents.

DepEd Cebu City Schools Di­vi­sion Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Bian­ito Da­gatan di­rected pub­lic school ad­min­is­tra­tors to strengthen the ad­vo­cacy on pro­tect­ing school chil­dren from abuse, vi­o­lence and ex­ploita­tion by dis­cussing the mat­ter over gen­eral assem­blies of Par­ent-Teacher As­so­ci­a­tions.

“Teachers must do close mon­i­tor­ing of the be­hav­ior of their learn­ers and re­in­force dis­cus­sions on the neg­a­tive ef­fects of (join­ing) gangs,” Da­gatan said.

Ear­lier, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial in Cebu City dis­closed that some gangs re­cruit mem­bers as young as eight years old, iden­ti­fy­ing at least 15 groups ac­tive in the city.

Re­ports re­vealed that as part of the ini­ti­a­tion, fresh re­cruits are forced to com­mit petty crimes in es­tab­lish­ments while fe­male re­cruits are al­legedly raped by gang lead­ers.

Da­gatan wanted to em­pha­size that there are al­ready ex­ist­ing poli­cies im­posed in schools. What of­fi­cials should do is to strengthen the im­ple­men­ta­tion, he said.

DepEd-7 Ad­min­is­tra­tive Di­vi­sion Chief Vic­tor Yntig cited DepEd Or­der No. 40 is­sued in 2012 that stip­u­lates the Child Pro­tec­tion Pol­icy or guide­lines on safe­guard­ing chil­dren in schools from bul­ly­ing, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and other forms of abuse.

This pol­icy has re­quired all pub­lic and pri­vate elementary and sec­ondary schools to es­tab­lish a spe­cial com­mit­tee, to be chaired by the school head or ad­min­is­tra­tor.

“Un­der this school pol­icy, a child pro­tec­tion com­mit­tee is cre­ated in all pub­lic and pri­vate schools, for the pro­tec­tion of the rights of chil­dren,” he said.

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