Senate Bill No. 1870 – “Teacher Protection Act of 2018.”

(Teacher Protection Act of 2018)

 

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
Third Regular Session
SENATE BILL No. 1870
Introduced by Senator SONNY ANGARA

AN ACT INSTITUTIONALIZING SUPPORT MECHANISMS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS AND SCHOOL PERSONNEL IN MATTERS OF STUDENT DISCIPLINE AND MECHANISMS FOR CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT AND PROVIDING FOR THEIR PROTECTION IN CASES RELATED THERETO

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in the Congress assembled:

Section 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Teacher Protection Act of 2018.”

Sec. 2. Declaration of Policy. – In all actions relating to children, the State shall accord special protection to children from all forms of abuse, exploitation, cruelty, and other conditions prejudicial to their development. Furthermore, the State has the duty to establish and maintain a complete and adequate system of public basic education geared towards the holistic development of a child.

These policies are henceforth understood to encompass the State’s responsibility to provide appropriate instruction to students about school discipline, their duties and responsibilities with respect to their peers, to their teachers and other persons of authority, and to members of their community.

To this end, the State shall institutionalize measures to implement in all public schools clearly defined regulations on appropriate student behaviour towards other students, teachers, and school staff during classes, and within and outside school premises.

The State is also hereby bound to establish and maintain support systems, including training on classroom management and child discipline and legal assistance for teachers and school staff, who daily stand in direct contact with students and find themselves in situations that could expose them to all allegations of child abuse in the course of the discharge of their duties.

It is hereby also declared that the State shall promote and improve the working conditions of public school teachers and other school personnel, which are understood to determine whether or not the physical and emotional environments of children and teachers are conducive to learning and teaching.

Sec. 3. Code of Discipline or student manuals. – Within one hundred and twenty (120) days after the effectivity of this Act, the Department of Education (hereinafter, the Department) is hereby tasked to issue policies and principles on student discipline and classroom management, which shall govern all Division-level student manuals.

For purposes of this Act, a student manual is a written document detailing:

(1) The school’s rules and regulations to be observed by students with respect to fellow students and school personnel and property, whenever inside its premises or outside it, in cases where conduct would interfere with the operation of the school or endanger the safety of other students and school staff;

(2) The rights and responsibilities of students in relation to school rules and regulations, to the end of fostering a positive school climate and safe environment conducive to instruction and learning;

(3) Permissible, appropriate, and effective responses and interventions that will address violation of school rules and regulations, including but not limited to communication to parents, counselling, reprimand, and detention, at each level and repetition of offense, to be administered by teachers, the school head, and other school staff; and

(4) A clear description of the disciplinary procedure and clear designation of the authorities competent to investigate, propose, and apply the responses and interventions.

The Department shall formulate a student manual to be implemented in all schools under its jurisdiction, which shall conform to the guidelines so established. This manual shall set out, among others, the disciplinary action to be taken against students who are found to have made malicious accusations of child abuse against teachers and school staff.

Sec. 4. Act pursuant to Code of Discipline or student manuals not deemed as child abuse. – Any act committed by a teacher or school staff pursuant to the disciplinary rules and procedure issued by the Department shall not be deemed as child abuse, cruelty, or exploitation as defined in Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

Sec. 5. Consultation of Involved Sectors in the Drafting of Student Manual. – Students, parents, teachers, other school personnel, and the community, represented by their respective organizations, as well as professionals in child behaviour and social work, shall each have meaningful involvement in the formulation of the guidelines and the student manual.

Sec. 6. Information Dissemination of the Student Manual. – The Department shall provide explanations, training, and workshops in order to familiarize students and families with the student manual, explain the expectations of various sectors involved, and describe the various preventive and positive responses and interventions that may be used.

At the beginning of each school year, copies of the student manual shall be provided to each student as well as their parents or legal guardians.

Sec. 7. Training of Teachers and School Personnel on the School Manual. – All employees of the Division shall also annually receive instruction related to the specific contents of the student manual.

Sec. 8. Professional Development relating to Student Discipline and Classroom Management. – The Department shall provide teachers the appropriate pre-service and in-service training on child behaviour and psychology, classroom management techniques, positive discipline, and other related fields, as well as the Department’s policies and principles governing the student manual and the scope of their duties and responsibilities with respect to student discipline and classroom management.

Sec. 9. Support Personnel. – The Department, with the Department of Budget and Management, shall also ensure that there is a sufficient number of items for guidance counsellors, who will serve as support personnel to teachers and school administrators in matters of student discipline.

For purposes of this Act, the Department shall endeavour to meet the recommended ratios of one guidance counsellor for every 200 students in public elementary and high schools.

Sec. 10. Other Support Mechanisms for Student Discipline and Classroom Management – The Department shall provide such other mechanisms necessary to capacitate its teachers and other personnel on matters regarding child behaviour and psychology, classroom management techniques, positive discipline, and other related fields. These measures shall include but not be limited to the conduct of periodic seminars and formulation of primers and other explanatory materials.

Sec. 11. Protection to teachers and school personnel in charges related to student discipline and classroom management. – In all cases related to student discipline and classroom management, including criminal and administrative charges of child abuse, the Department shall extend to its teachers and other personnel the necessary protection, including but not limited to legal assistance and representation.

The Department shall ensure that respondents, in all stages of the disciplinary proceedings, are amply represented by the accredited union, or registered union, or registered union, where there is no existing accredited union, of teachers or non-teaching employees, as the case may be.

Violation of this Section is a violation of due process and shall render the proceedings void and all responsible persons administratively, civilly, and criminally liable.

Sec. 12. Confidentiality of Identity of Parties and Proceedings under this Act. – No person, whether public or private and whether a party to the case or otherwise, shall publicize a case during its pendency. In no case shall the identity of complainants and respondents, or any information that may reasonably identify the, be disclosed to the public during the pendency of the proceedings.

Violation of this Section shall subject the person to the appropriate administrative, civil, criminal, and other liabilities.

The Department shall issue its guidelines for the media with regard to the handling of cases within the contemplation of this Act.

Sec. 13. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within ninety (90) days from the effective date of this Act, the Department shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 14. Separability Clause. – Should any provision herein be declared unconstitutional, the same shall not affect the validity of the other provisions of this Act.

Sec. 15. Repealing Clause. – Republic Act 7610 is hereby modified accordingly. All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, or other issuances or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed.

Sec. 16. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved

 

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