Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on DepEd’s effort to train teachers and parents on spotting “red flags” of bullying among students

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on DepEd’s effort to train teachers and parents on spotting “red flags” of bullying among students

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the Department of Education’s (DepEd) initiative to train teachers and parents on how to spot the “red flags” of bullying among their students and children. This project aims to determine learners who require intervention so that teachers and parents can identify and address bullying issues among students.

According to a report, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte stated in November 2023 that DepEd received 1,709 reports of various forms of abuse against students through the Learner’s Telesafe Contact Center Helpline.

Mental health is now a major concern in schools and the community as a whole. Different forms of abuse within educational institutions, such as bullying, have a significant impact on children’s performance, whether academic or non-academic. These incidents cause stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns, which impede students’ overall development and learning dynamics.

It is essential that educational institutions and learning facilities be established as safe spaces for students, vehemently rejecting all forms of harassment and abuse. Such behaviors directly infringe on children’s fundamental rights, limiting their access to equal educational opportunities. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Moreover, Section 24 of Republic Act No. 11036, or the Mental Health Act states that educational institutions shall develop policies and programs for students, educators, and other employees designed to: raise awareness on mental health issues, identify and provide support and services for individuals at risk, and facility access, including referral mechanisms of an individual with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.

In line with this, we commend DepEd’s initiative to train teachers and parents in recognising the indicators and signs of bullying among students. This demonstrates our proactive approach to prioritising mental health as an essential component of each student’s overall development.

The Commission remains committed to its mandate of protecting the rights of everyone, particularly those who have been victims of abuse. Bullying, harassment, and other forms of abuse have no place in sanctuaries of learning. Furthermore, we reaffirm all Filipinos’ basic right to mental health, as well as the fundamental rights of those in need of mental health services.###