With the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Child Protection Policy through DepEd Order No. 40, series of 2012, all levels of its field offices – regional, division, and school – strengthened existing efforts and employed new mechanisms to ensure zero tolerance for any act of violence against children, including corporal punishment.
Having championed the cause for a long time, the Schools Division of Tanauan in Batangas embraced the policy advancing the rights and welfare of children and protecting them from any form of abuse, discrimination, exploitation and violence, primarily through the institution of positive discipline inside and outside the classroom.
Defined as “a way of thinking and a holistic, constructive, and proactive approach to teaching that helps children develop appropriate thinking and behavior in the short and long-term,” positive discipline is being instilled in the classroom because DepEd Tanauan believes that learning is an emotional process, and that students learn best when they are cared for. The teachers are consistently reminded that students should be treated the way they would treat their own child – with love and care.
In partnership with their city government, DepEd Tanauan spearheaded capacity building programs for teachers and community members. The trainings focused on prevention and response to cases of children’s rights violations, and on fostering a non-violent, mutually-respectful and caring environment.
“We adults cannot tell a child not to hurt or be violent to others if our manner of disciplining them is corporal punishment. Violence will always beget violence, but love also begets love,” Butch Brinas, Child Protection Specialist of DepEd Tanauan, pointed out during one of their workshops.
One of the schools in Tanauan, Bernardo Lirio Memorial National High School, went the extra mile and modeled best practiceson instilling positive discipline and implementing the child protection policy. Their child protection committee, in collaboration with the school governing council including the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA),drafted a localized policy integrating child protection in all aspects of school operations. Positive discipline and child protection are consistently incorporated in their Gender and Development (GAD) program, curricular activities including integration of positive discipline concepts in Values Education, classroom management program, and delivery of interventions in different subject-areas.
Their First Day of School Primer, emphasizing the roles of teachers in delivering service, responsibility of students, code of conduct, school’s standard operating procedures, and the rights of children, was produced and disseminated to employees including canteen helpers, security guards and utility workers, and other stakeholders including parents and barangay workers.
DepEd Tanauan further forged strong partnerships and linkages with national government agencies and local government units including the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), the Women and Children Protection Desk of the Philippine National Police (WCPD-PNP), the Department of Health (DOH) and other people’s organizations in the city.
This worthwhile endeavor received positive feedback especially from teachers who were at first ambivalent as to the scope of the program. They attested that with positive discipline, they now have better relationship with their students. “Understanding where they come from and what they feel is a big help to both teachers and students,” one of them further shared.
The teachers were also guided by the primer on Positive Discipline in Everyday Teaching produced by DepEd, Save the Children, and E-Net Philippines in 2015. It outlined the steps teachers can follow and the situations they can refer to.
“As teachers, we play a vital role in shaping the lives of these children. How we treat them in school could have a long-lasting effect, whether it be positive or negative. Therefore, let us perform our duties as teachers with full awareness of the consequences of our acts on the lives of our learners,” Atty. Alberto Muyot, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, said in the primer’s foreword. “Let us work together to ensure a nurturing and safe school environment for all children," he concluded.