CHR to teachers: Do not back down to Tulfo

DUMAGUETE CITY – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Oriental and Siquijor on Monday called out to teachers not to give in to the likes of now-controversial broadcast journalist Raffy Tulfo who received flak recently for seeking the resignation of a teacher on national TV.

In a statement, CHR Negros Oriental and Siquijor head Jess Cañete said the agency “condemns in its highest form the acts of Mr. Raffy Tulfo in addressing the issue between the teacher and the parents of a pupil, which resulted in the teacher’s resignation.”

“Do not be put down by that isolated zarzuela by Tulfo,” Cañete said, addressing teachers, saying they are “indispensable instruments of nation-building”.

He urged mentors to “continue to exert professional effort and expertise in building the youth for their own progressive and ideal future,” adding that they can discharge their functions in giving discipline without necessarily “demeaning the dignity of the child”.

Cañete was referring to the “teacher-shaming” incident as reported by national media on Tulfo’s program last week, where the broadcast journalist was addressing a complaint against Melita Limjuco by parents of a Grade 2 student who was made to leave the classroom after he forgot to bring his report card.

Tulfo then asked Limjuco to choose whether the issue would be brought to court or simply have her license revoked, and the teacher chose the latter, the media reports said.

The CHR official said Tulfo “has violated the rights of that teacher by way of humiliating her in public which led her to resign from her job.”

“That program of Tulfo is not the proper forum, nor is it an established instrumentality to deal with this subject matter that has the authority to dispense issues of such nature, nor has he the required expertise and training to handle the same,” Cañete said.

He said child abuse in classrooms, as defined in Republic Act 7610 or “An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination, Providing Penalties for its Violation and for Other Purposes”, “has its own standards, and not dependent on a parent’s definition, nor Tulfo’s.”

Cañete, meanwhile, reminded parents that the responsibility of instilling discipline in their children primarily rests on them and not on the teachers.

The teachers, he said, are secondary parents and can discipline the children at school when parents fail to do so at home.

By enrolling their children in school, it goes without saying “that you are likewise willingly delegating that responsibility to the teacher,” he added in his message to the parents, “otherwise do not enroll them in schools.”

Cañete also said “the CHR is likewise cognizant to the provisions of the Magna Carta for Teachers protecting them from negative public opinion and trial by publicity during the pendency of their cases.”  Mary Judaline Partlow / PNA –