School bullies may be victims of abuse at home: psychologist

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2023 10:52 PM

MANILA — Children and teenagers who perpetrate incidents of abuse and violence in schools could also be victims of the same in their homes or communities, a psychologist said.

Dr. Camille Garcia of the Clinic of the Holy Spirit noted that instances of bullying and even physical attacks involving young culprits at school premises have been more pronounced recently because of the return to face-to-face classes in mid-2022.

The lockdowns of the 2 years before that might have allowed some youths to be exposed to such abuse which they later projected to other people such as their classmates, Garcia said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

“Ito ‘yong pagkakataon na nag-pile up na ‘yong mga possible angst ng isang tao, siyempre, deep-seated anger,” Garcia said. 

"Probably during the time na nasa loob ng pamamahay, they were able to experience physical violence or even physical abuse na nakikita sa bahay, within the community na dati hindi napapansin ng isang bata. And definitely nakita nila na ‘Ay, mayroon palang ganun,’ ‘Ay, pwede pala ‘yong ganoon’.

“So ‘yong possibility na once naka-experience sila ng ganito, ‘yong chances na ito pwede mangyari ito, makikita mo ‘yong aggression pwede mag-buildup, and ‘yong possibility na makasakit sila nang mas matindi, pwedeng mangyari.”

Since November 2022, youths and students have figured in media reports for bullying, beating, and stabbing incidents in various areas, some resulting in victims’ deaths.

Most recently, the Ateneo de Davao University probed a viral video of a male student choking another inside a comfort room.


Crimes committed in schools by children in conflict with the law (CICL) have begun to be listed again in 2022 by the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), according to data provided to ABS-CBN News. 

While these have gone up from zero or a handful such cases tallied in 2020 and 2021, there is no upward trend in cases, said PNP WCPC public information officer Police Col. Mary Grace Madayag. 

“These are cases na mangilan-ngilan lamang, but they’re happening in the NCR area kaya naka-capture ng media,” she said.

The top 3 CICL cases in schools last year were child abuse (11 cases), rape (9 cases), and less serious physical injury (5 cases).

There were no listed cases in 2022 of theft, robbery, or other crimes. 

However, the numbers are far less than those before the pandemic.

The Top 5 crimes in schools involving children in conflict with the law (CICL) in 2022 seen over the past 5 years. Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center.
The Top 5 crimes in schools involving children in conflict with the law (CICL) in 2022 seen over the past 5 years. Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center.

For Garcia, shallow social relationships and lack of face-to-face interaction among children over the pandemic could also explain why some resort to violence.

“Kung alam mo—ang nakikita mo—sa pamilya mo na ang pinaka-best way to resolve conflict is awayin ‘yong taong involved doon, pupuwedeng sabihin natin, magagaya rin ng isang bata,” she said.

The psychologist reminded parents to instill discipline among their children and prevent problematic behaviors from escalating further.

Parents should themselves exemplify good manners and right conduct at home, she added.

Garcia also recommended for teachers to use the homeroom period as a platform to help students understand and act appropriately on any issues among each other.


The PNP WCPC said students experiencing bullying or other forms of violence in school and their parents can approach the child protection committees (CPC) in their schools for help.

CPCs are tasked to identify and report to appropriate offices cases involving child abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination and bullying, among other functions.

Madayag added that the women and children protection desks in police stations are also available for these cases, especially if outside the school.

“‘Wag sila matakot na mag-report,” she said.

“Nanulak ka ng classmate, nambully lang, kailangan na pong mai-correct natin agad iyan. Maliban sa magulang, pamilya, kailangan within the school system na madisiplina ang bata. 

If these interventions at the family and school level fail, Madayag continued, the government can step in to rescue so-called “at-risk” youth.

She said that while CICL may not face charges or jail time, intervention in the form of anger management, skills development, and other programs will be made for them.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has committed to seek experts and advocates to strengthen its programs for addressing mental health at the school level.

A teacher’s group, meanwhile, lamented the lack of funding for security and guidance counselors in public schools that could help prevent further instances of violence and abuse. 


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