DepEd to probe bag burning in Bicol school

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LEGAZPI CITY — The Department of Education (DepEd) regional office here on Sunday opened an investigation into the burning of bags in a Bicol school that went viral on social media.

DepEd OIC regional director Gilbert Sadsad said they are deeply saddened over the incident, where a teacher-owner-administrator of the Bicol Central Academy in Libamanan town in Camarines Sur reportedly burned schoolbags of students who defied a “no-schoolbag policy” during a recent event.

“There was a clear manifestation of child abuse and a violation of our child protection policy,” he said.

Sadsad said while they cannot sanction the person because it is under the jurisdiction of private school authorities, he assured to “review our policies if we can provide sanctions in terms of possible revocation of the school’s permit to operate and other benefits provided by the government.”

Meanwhile, the school division office of Camarines Sur already sent a communication requesting for a written explanation from the administrator of the school.

Based on reports, the schoolbags reportedly contained cash, gadgets, and other personal belongings. They were burned after some students did not allegedly follow a school directive that no bags should be brought on a formal attire day.

In a text message, Sadsad said he is set to visit the private school on Monday to conduct an investigation on the matter.

Asked if parents already filed a complaint, he said “as of now, (there are still) no complaints from parents since the incident happened last Friday.”

“‘Yung mga student na nasunugan ng gamit halos lahat malayo ang mga bahay. And the only reason kaya may dala silang backpack ay para hindi na sila umuwi ng lunch (The students brought their schoolbags because their houses were far. And they only brought their backpacks so they don’t have to go home for lunch),” a student said in a Facebook post.

“Siguro acceptable pa kung tinapon lang sa basurahan. Pero hindi eh, sinunog pa. We can accept all those punishments para sa kasalanan na nagawa namin. Pero sana next time wag nang ganito (Maybe it could have been acceptable if they were thrown in the trash bin. But no, they were burned. We can accept all those punishments for the mistakes we did. But I hope this will not happen again),” the student added.

The Bicol Central Academy is a private school in Libamanan, Camarines Sur founded in 1945. (PNA)