DepEd asks teacher to explain scolding of students in viral video

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education has issued a show cause order against a public school teacher who went viral for scolding her students while live-streaming on TikTok — an incident that some believe is an overstep in classroom discipline but educators say is proof of deeper issues in the school system.

DepEd Assistant Secretary Francis Bringas said in a message to that the teacher in the now-viral video has been asked by the DepEd regional office to explain her actions.

The public school teacher was served the show cause order Monday morning, Bringas said. 

DepEd has given the teacher 72 hours to respond to the show cause order, which was issued “for her to explain” the incident and “part of due process,” the DepEd official added.

While the offense has yet to be identified by the department, Bringas said: “We should be guided by existing policies on use of social media. We should all be responsible social media users.” 

Livestreamed ‘scolding’

The video, which has now gone viral on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), shows the teacher recording herself inside a classroom while expressing her frustration with her students.

The teacher’s video is in the format of a TikTok livestream with real-time comments being flashed on screen.

The TikTok account that uploaded the video, “serendipitylover,” is no longer accessible on the platform.

In the video, the teacher is shown lashing out at her students over their behavior, saying (in Filipino) that they have “forgotten boundaries” and have routinely disrespected her.

The public school teacher uttered remarks that used derogatory language against the students, such as “ugaling iskwater (behaving like a squatter)” and “ingrato (ungrateful),” among others.

What does DepEd’s policy state? 

All DepEd personnel, including public school teachers, are required to adhere to the department’s zero-tolerance policy on all acts of child abuse, as stated in DepEd’s Child Protection Policy.

The 2012 guidelines, as outlined in DepEd Order No. 40, s. 2012, consider any act or words that “debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being” as child abuse. 

The DepEd order also states that teachers are considered “second parents” in school who are “expected to discharge their functions and duties with this in mind.”

DepEd also acknowledged in their Child Protection Policy that “cases of abuse may arise as a result of the difficult situations faced by teachers and other officials within and outside school.” 

Gaps in the law 

The extent to which teachers can discipline their students without resorting to abusive acts was the subject of the House basic education committee’s deliberation of bills proposing amendments to Republic Act 7610 or the Child Abuse Law in 2023. 

RELATED: House panel OKs bill protecting teachers from blanket child abuse allegations 

During the House committee hearing, lawmakers said that there is a need to safeguard teachers from blanket charges of child abuse by qualifying what actions fall under the exercise of their “discipline authority” inside the classroom.

Ruby Bernardo, representative of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers – National Capital Region, said during the hearing that some teachers have been slapped with child abuse cases for actions as simple as asking a student to stand up and face the wall for disrupting a lecture.  

This prompted House basic education chair Rep. Roman Romulo (Pasig City) to comment on the need to improve the Child Abuse Law so that it cannot be used to arbitrarily go after teachers who discipline their students.

On Saturday, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) Chairperson Benjo Basas appealed to the public to withhold judgment against the teacher as several factors can push a teacher to lash out against their students. 

In a statement, Basas explained: “There are many factors as to why teachers lose their patience, and among these is their heavy workload, low pay and benefits, overcrowded classrooms and students who sometimes misbehave.”

The TDC chairperson also said there is a need to review RA 7610, which has “good intentions” but has been misused to “abuse” teachers.

“TDC is challenging DepEd not just to be understanding, but also to provide legal help for teachers facing similar cases,” Basas added.



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