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By AC Nicholls
Maria – an incoming fourth year high school student – has been teased since she was in second grade because of a medical condition that causes her lips to swell.
She said the teasing, and the failure of her school to defend her or to stop the teasing, has affected her studies.
“Nagle-lessen po yung self-confidence ko. Lalo ko po naiisip mga negative sa sarili ko. Di ko po magawa yung mga dapat kong gawin kasi palagi ko yun naiisip [My self-confidence has lessened. I'm always thinking of what's negative about me. I can't do what I want because I'm always thinking about it] ” Maria told Solar News.
Under the anti-bullying bill, which the House of Representatives passed on Thursday, even teasing is a form of bullying. So is any form of harassment using any electronic device, in which case it is called cyber-bullying.
In general, the new bill – whioh aims to protect elementary and high school students in particular – defines bullying as the use of any verbal, physical, or written gesture towards another student that would place the latter in fear of physical or emotional harm.
More specifically, the bill prohibits acts of physical bullying, which include punching, pushing, shoving, kicking, slapping, headlocks, and even tickling.
Senator-elect Sonny Angara, who is among the authors of the Senate counterpart of the bill, said the new measures mandates schools to implement policies to curb bullying. Otherwise, the Department of Education can slap a school with administrative penalties or suspend its permit to operate.
DepEd welcomes the bill, according to Undersecretary Alberto Muyot.
“We support it,” Muyot said. “We already have anti-bullying in the existing Deped Child Protection Policy. We will further enhance the policy in accordance with the law.”
The bill originated in the House. But the Senate amended. So, to avoid having to convene a bicameral conference committee, the House agreed to the amendments.

See more here: Anti-bullying bill passes both houses of Congress – Solar News

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