19 August 2014

Bullying at the TFVC Kindergarten School

TFVC Bullying
Another case of bullying in school was reported recently and it appears that, like before, the school is at a loss on what to do and, worse, has not done anything significant to address the issue.

The case stemmed from the complaint of the parents of a 5-year old girl who attended kindergarten classes at The Fisher Valley College (TFVC) in Barangay Hagonoy, Taguig City. The youngest of the two siblings was a consistent honor student, but was also haunted by the shadow of a bully classmate.

According to the parents, last July 2013, a classmate of the 5-year old "pulled her chair while she's about to sit, she fell and her upper legs private got swollen for 2 days. The school said, this incident will not happen again and watch the offender closely not to go near my child."

However, the school did not keep its promise. On November 2013, the 5-year old was "emotionally and physically bullied by the same classmate and this time, she was sent to the Emergency Room of a Hospital in order to remove the buried pencil lead in her left palm when she was stabbed by the bully. She received a tetanus shot and 1-week antibiotic for medication."

The parents also reported that their child had "to attend multiple sessions with psychiatrist to cure her emotional trauma due to the incident."

However, that's not the worse part. The management of TFVC allegedly has not taken the case very seriously and has not followed the standard procedure in dealing with young bullies.
According to the parents of the victim, the school ignored the psychiatric evaluation and recommendation on how to address the concerns of their child, no financial assistance was extended to cover the medical cost that would not have happened if the school just kept the two children apart, no apology extended to the victim and her family and no disciplinary action was meted against the bully or her parents.

The school even sent the parents of the victim a very discriminating letter telling them that "if you decide to remove your child from the school we will respect your decision."

Under the "Anti-Bullying Act of 2013," bullying is defined as "any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property; creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of the other student at school; or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school."

This definition is very important as it emphasizes that even a single act, so long as it is "severe," may constitute bullying. The law also prohibits cyber-bullying or “any bullying done through the use of technology or any electronic means.”

Under Section 12 of the Law, it was stated that "upon the filing of a complaint or upon notice by a school personnel or official of any bullying or peer abuse incident, the same shall be immediately reported to the School Head, who shall inform the parents or guardian of the victim and the offending child, in a meeting for the purpose. The victim and the offending child shall be referred to the Child Protection Committee (a school body) for counseling and other interventions. The penalty of reprimand, if warranted, may be imposed by the School Head in the presence of the parents or guardians."

Has the school done anything under Section 12 of the Law when the first offense reached them? Most probably not. Hence, if you plan to send your child to The Fisher Valley College (TFVC) in Taguig who claimed to be a Christ-centered institution, you better think again.