School heads told: Intervene vs gangs
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.