Calls to end bullying after video of ‘fight’ between Ateneo students surfaces

December 21, 2018 - 1:35 PM
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Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym
The Blue Eagle Gym on the Ateneo de Manila campus on Katipunan Avenue. (Wikicommons/Ramon Velasquez)

An uproar against bullying erupted across social media platforms after a video of a student of a junior high school student assaulting another student was circulated online.

Several social media users used the hashtags #NeverTolerateBullying and #NoToBullying after a video of a student at the Ateneo Junior High School kicking and punching another student in a comfort room spread online.

Prior to throwing the first punch, the smaller student asks his classmate, who was reluctant to engage, to choose between “dignidad or bugbog” (dignity or assault).

The combative student declares to the camera that he would make his classmate kneel and kiss his shoe if the latter chooses dignity. He prepares to attack when the other student refuses to entertain his question, going so far as to take off his I.D lanyard.

The taller student walks away with a bloodied nose after receiving a punch from his classmate.

In the school’s official statement, Ateneo president Jose Ramon Villarin confirmed that the school’s discipline committee was investigating the incident and vowed to expel any guilty party in “cases of grave misconduct.”

Some social media users however hit the school’s refusal to address the incident as a bullying case in the statement.

The school as of this writing has yet to confirm if any of the students seen in the video will be sanctioned.

Against bullying

Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Law of 2013 mandates all primary and secondary schools in the Philippines to adopt a policy that combats bullying. It also sets the procedure for reporting cases of bullying and allows the school to notify law enforcement agencies if the guilty party is found to have committed any of the offenses under the Revised Penal Code.

The law defines “bullying” as physical assault or any gesture or expression, whether in person or through writing or communication, that places the victim in “reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property” and create a hostile environment for the student.

Aside from physical harm which includes pushing, kicking, shoving and even tickling, the law covers any act that causes psychological and emotional damage, slander and cyber-bullying through electronic or online platforms.

Schools unable to administer such a policy may be sanctioned by  the Department of Education. Private schools guilty of such a lapse may be suspended from operation.

Aside from the video, the Ateneo administration is still investigating sexual misconduct complaints against one of its professors.

It also investigated reports of an alleged rape that took place in  the campus but the school found the account, which was also posted on the ADMU Freedom Wall Facebook page, to be a hoax.