Child abuse can happen right inside the classroom. I just saw this news item on ABS CBN news: Mabel, a 9 year old girl from Silangan Elementary School, in Taguig died after allegedly being made to swallow pencil shavings by her teacher. According to her classmates their teacher thought Madel was the one who had scattered pencil shaving and was punished for it.

This news report Pupil, made to swallow pencil shavings, dies added that:

Although there was no autopsy, acute tonsillitis and asphyxiation pneumonia due to the extreme swelling of throat were stated as the official cause of death.

This is just terrible. I am sure a lot of teachers implement [tag]corporal punishment[/tag] and other severe forms of punishment on pupils and students. In fact, the assistant DepEd secretary admitted that there were complaints in the past. I hope the Department of Education investigate the matter not only in that school but in all schools of the Philippines. The Deparment of Education in Dumaguete City has banned corporal punishment since 2004.

Provincial Schools Division Superintendent Aleli Abne said that while the behavior of some children may be particularly trying to ones patience, teachers are expected to look into the possible cause or causes of their misbehavior and to act accordingly. She said teachers should consider conferring with parents of misbehaving children as first recourse rather than a first remedy.

“In no way should teachers own personal problems, emotional outbursts or psychological baggage affect their mode of disciplining their pupils,” Abne said.

And as usual, government does not act on abuses unless it reaches the media or caused a death.

My heart goes out to the distraught and grieving mother. I can feel the agonizing pain she’s going through. For a parent, there is nothing more devastating than the death of our child.

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