SEXUAL harassment in schools continued this year despite the continuous crackdown on teachers preying on children.

/ 2 January 2023

SEXUAL harassment in schools continued this year despite the continuous crackdown on teachers preying on children.

In 2022, The Philippine Online Student Tambayan reported six sexual harassment cases that happened in high schools and colleges and universities.

Sexual harassment by teachers were recorded in Canossa College, Philippine High School for the Arts, University of the East, Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School and Bacoor National High School.

The latest case that The POST reported happened at the University of Mindanao on December 27.

Stories about the abuses circulated online and caught the attention of the school administrators, advocacy groups and caught national attention.

Teachers accused of sexually harassing their students, in most cases, sent lewd messages to students and asked for sexual favors.

The most common victims of these “predators” were attractive or sexy female students. The accused teachers allegedly start conversations with messages like “ganda” and “sexy.”

In some extreme cases, the teachers reportedly groped students in private or even asked them to go to motels with them.

Some of the faculty members involved in these cases were usually married and aged 30 and above. Students, on the other hand, range from 18-24 in age.

What do other students do?

When other students catch wind of the news, they turn to social media platforms to amplify the issue and bomb pages connected to the school to highlight their concerns.

These issues also gave birth to movements in schools that called for the creation of safe spaces. These movements forced school administrations to issue statements condemning the act and start investigations.

Organizations like Enough is Enough were also founded by advocates demanding tougher government action against sexual harassment in schools through the filing of criminal and administrative charges with the revocation of their professional licenses as teachers and getting blacklisted from employers through the creation of a national database.

EIE also advocates for safe spaces saying that a lot of students are afraid to report harassment incidents as school policies are centered toward the protection of its employees. Students who file complaints against faculty members often receive no support from the school.

It is also advocating for the establishment of a communication line to the Department of Education where students can direct their concerns.

What does the government do?

In October, CHED Executive Director Cindy Jaro said that the agency wants to launch educational resources pertaining to ethics in modules.

DepEd, on the other hand, said that it has a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of abuse against learners and asked victims to contact them directly through their hotline numbers.