MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education on Thursday said it is investigating the sanctions imposed by Espiritu Santo Parochial School on 7 students who disparaged the school on social networking site Facebook.
Ponciano Menguito, DepEd city division superintendent, said private schools have the right to discipline their students, provided that all rules were made clear to the students and their parents.
“Ating titingnan kung ito ay nagkaroon ng due process at malinaw na naipaabot sa mga magulang at mga bata. Malinaw din bang nakasaad doon sa student handbook ang mga kaparusahan sa bawat pagkakamali na gagawin ng mga bata,” Menguito told Punto por Punto host Anthony Taberna.
Questions of fairness rose after the Espiritu Santo Parochial School suspended the 7 graduating students for posting alleged libelous statements against their adviser on Facebook.
Gloria Valdez, a parent of one of the students, admitted each of the students received a student handbook. She felt, however, that the sanction given by the school may have been too harsh.
The students, who have been prohibited from entering the school’s premises since October 3, have already apologized for their actions.
One of the suspended students, Francis, said they just expressed their feelings for their teacher. He said he did not think that their posts would still be seen since they were made in July.
Another student, Dane, admitted that she used profane language in her comment on the Facebook post.
The 7 said they are all sorry for their actions and promised that they would never do it again. They also appealed to the management that they be given a chance to go back to school.
When asked what they would like to say to their teacher, Merryl said, "Nagsisisi po (kami). Sorry po sa mga nagawa po namin. 'Pag po napabalik kami, papatunayan po namin na 'di na mauulit saka magiging mas mabuti po kaming estudyante."
Another student, Carl, said: "'Di na po namin uulitin 'yun at madami na po kaming natututunan na mga lesson sa nagawa namin."
Valdez also said, "Nakiusap na 'yung mga anak namin na bigyan sila ng pagkakataon ng school na maipagpatuloy yung pag-aaral nila. Nagsisisi naman po 'yung mga bata, humihingi po ng tawad at nangangako na hindi na ulit nila gagawin.”
Valdez said the students have become depressed because they fear they will be unable to graduate.
"'Yung anak ko po nagkasakit, 'di po siya makakain, 'di makatulog, iyak po siya ng iyak. Nagkukulong sa kwarto na naranasan rin po ng ibang bata sa sobrang lungkot na 'di na sila makakapasok, na 'di na sila makakapagpatuloy ng pagaaral nila, na 'di na sila makakgraduate ngayong school year na 'to. Saka nahihiya rin po sila," she said.
Menguito said it is still possible for the 7 to graduate provided that the management allows them to take make-up classes to cope with the lessons they have missed.
Meanwhile, he said DepEd would look into the issue and talk with the school officials on Tuesday.
"Nagpatawag ako ng pulong sa mga opisyales ng paaralaan at mga magulang, mga bata para tingnan kung mayroong nasunod na due process sa ginawang pagpaparusa sa mga bata,” he said.
"Sa lahat naman ng kilos at aksyon ng DepEd ay palagi nating isinasangalang-alang ang kapakanan ng ating mga batang mag-aaral," he added.