READ: Teachers’ group says Positive Discipline Bill unnecessary
Since corporal punishment is already prohibited in schools, a teachers’ group said that a bill on positive discipline may no longer be necessary.
Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that “corporal punishment is not allowed in our schools” thus, “we do not need a law to prohibit the already prohibited.” TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said that teachers are already “burdened by so many regulations that are used or misused against us.”
Basas noted that the anti-child abuse law – which is an example of a law that has a very good intention – is still “enforceable.” The Department of Education (DepEd), he added, also has a Child Protection Policy (CPP) that “imposes strict rules on protection of children in school setting.”
“We recognize and respect these regulations but unfortunately, these are also being used to harass, threaten and intimidate the helpless teachers or extort money from them,” Basas said. TDC was reacting to Senate Bill No. 1477, also known as an Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children, which was recently passed in its third and final reading.
“While we appreciate the principles of positive discipline and in fact cooperate with the DepEd and the private sector for its promotion, we believe that creating another law is too much and may further put our teachers in a disadvantaged position,” Basas said. “The principles and definitions, even the supposed violations in the proposal are all covered and already well-written in the pertinent regulations,” he added.
Basas said that the group denounces the “ancient ways of disciplining children, particularly physical, verbal and psychological punishment in teaching-learning process.” TDC regards these methods “as outdated and ineffective, considering the advances in child psychology and universal principle of children’s rights, which the teachers are expected to abide.” However, they would also want “to remind our legislators to be cautious and take into consideration all the factors in school situation.”
Basas said that given the “present complicated condition,” teachers – who are often “misunderstood and sensationalized” – for supposedly imposing discipline also need the protection of the law.
“We must, at all times be sure that the rights and welfare of teachers are protected in the same weight as we protect the children,” he added. Instead of the law, TDC believes that a “genuine and sincere program” on positive discipline that involves parents, community leaders, local government and school personnel is “essential.”
SOURCE: Manila Bulletin