Alarmed by the recent incidents of students raping other students, the Department of Education (DepEd) released an official statement asking parents, teachers and the public "to be increasingly vigilant and proactive in preventing and deterring incidents that result in the abuse, exploitation, and discrimination against children."
The appeal comes after three student rape incidents were reported recently. The first one involved a 12-year-old student and her five schoolmates in Barangay Maysilo, Malabon; another case is with a Grade 10 student and five minors in Sta. Maria, Bulacan; and the third case is of an 11-year-old student and four schoolmates in Ajuy, Iloilo.
"Learners spend more or less nine hours in class, but the bigger percentage of their daily interactions and values formation occur outside school. The teachers’ commitment to instilling in children the proper values and respect for fellow people must be complemented by the guidance of parents and guardians, and by the responsibility of media and of the community," the DepEd said in the statement.
It added, "These are young, pliant minds – eager to learn and absorb information, beliefs, values, perspectives, ideas. The burden of accountability and the necessity to ensure that they develop into upright and productive citizens lie equally on the shoulders of the education system, the government, and the community."
The department stays firm in its resolve to uphold the protection of children by the State through the Republic Act Np. 7610, or An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination, and for Other Purposes. It vows to do all the necessary means to ensure justice is served, and that rehabilitation for both the victims and the perpetrators are enforced.
DepEd is also committed to providing the children a "safe and nurturing environment where the values of respect, gender-sensitivity, and responsibility for one’s actions are learned, understood, and applied."
When a parent hears about these kinds of incidents, they’d never imagine that their child can be a victim or the abuser. However, it’s now more important than ever to instill in our kids the values and teach them the skills to protect themselves from the dangers that may befall them.
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For resources on how to talk to kids about abuse, click on these links below.