DepEd Iloilo recommends raps vs teacher over student’s death

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Schools Division Office (SDO) of Iloilo has recommended that the Department of Education Western Visayas (DepEd-6) file administrative charges against the teacher involved in the death of a Grade 10 student from Maasin, Iloilo, on May 10.

The SDO Iloilo cited areas of “administrative interests” during its immediate verification process following the incident.

“Since we found areas of administrative interests, we recommended administrative complaints or action be initiated to determine the administrative liability of the personnel involved,” said Dr. Ernesto Servillon Jr., SDO-Iloilo superintendent, in a press conference on June 11.

Servillon explained that filing the case is beyond their jurisdiction and that the regional office can take action motu proprio (on one’s own initiative).

The SDO-Iloilo submitted the report of its investigation on May 29, and the DepEd-6 response is expected to be released this week.

One of the “administrative interests” Servillon emphasized is the initial report card issued by the teacher, which includes the student’s initial grades. The student received grades of 64 and 69 in the first and second quarters, respectively, for the subject Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan.

“Once the grades are shown to the parents, they should already be the final grade and not the initial grade,” he stressed.

The SDO-Iloilo also ruled that, based on corroborating circumstantial events and statements related to the incident, their legal team cannot yet conclude that the death of the child is related to his grades.

“The claim note, output of the child as well as the personal activity of the child, if we will corroborate it, we cannot establish that the death is grade-related,” Servillon emphasized.

Following the student’s death, DepEd has provided psychosocial interventions to the affected individuals, including students and faculty of the school.

Meanwhile, the SDO-Iloilo emphasized its commitment to supporting the mental well-being of students and teachers.

Under the Sagip Kinabukasan initiative, programs such as “Creating Hope through Action” and “Project Tib-ong Kabataan” have been implemented.

Servillon noted that these initiatives equip responders to detect “red flags” related to mental health. Project Tib-ong Kabataan includes massive advocacy on mental health, adolescent reproductive health, water, sanitation, and hygiene, anti-smoking, and suicide and depression.

In October 2023, SDO-Iloilo trained secondary and integrated school registered and designated guidance counselors on mental health.

“[Through the training,] we can identify students that have portrayed red flags and need intervention related to mental health. This is one of the initiatives that we would like to continue to preempt any occurrence or incident related to mental health,” he emphasized.

Servillon highlighted the shortage of guidance counselors in the province, noting that few are appointed and most are designated, as the position requires a master’s degree in guidance counseling.