Learning environment

Amid allegations of sexual abuse, PHSA says it works to provide a ‘safe learning environment’

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine High School for the Arts in Laguna, which is facing allegations of abuse, said in a statement that its school staff strives to provide a safe learning environment for its students.

It comes after an in-depth report by Vice News into allegations of sexual, verbal and emotional abuse by teachers and staff.

In his July 5 statementthe public high school for young artists said it sympathized with “former students who have complained of past abuse”, but cautioned against generalizing about the school as a place of abuse.

“As many of our former students, teachers and staff feel, some of whom have worked at PHSA for over 20 years, the sweeping generalization, as seen in articles portraying PHSA as a haven for abuse, is unjust” , did he declare.

“The PHSA, like any other institution, is not perfect. But rest assured that all staff at our school are working hand-in-hand to provide our students with a safe learning environment, whether online or at Makiling. “, added the school.

The first school for young artists said it was working to improve measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its students.

Before the pandemic, it was already implementing strict curfew hours, adding that it will observe the same once internal classes resume.

The institution also said it constantly reminds its teachers to use child-friendly materials and to refer to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board guidelines in production and artistic production.

In Vice’s June 28 report, a former student said his teacher would molest him during rehearsals at his home, while another was in shock after his teacher made him and his classmates, explicit material at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. unbeknownst to their parents.

Due process

The PHSA said victims can file their complaints with the school’s designated committees, which can guide them on the format required by civil service rules.

“Rest assured in dealing with disciplinary matters, PHSa has its own processes which have been duly recognized by the Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Cultural Center of the Philippines and Department of Education “, did he declare.

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The PHSA is an agency attached to the Department of Education (DepEd), has yet to comment on the matter, at the time of writing.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, advocate for children’s and women’s rights, said in a tweet that the alleged abuse at the PHSA is appalling, adding that they are ready to bring justice to every child victim of abuse. Hontiveros is primarily the author of the Safe Spaces Act, which covers abuse or harassment in schools.

Separately, PHSA Variations, the school’s official campus newspaper, reiterated its call for safe spaces for its students and urged the public to sign the demands.

— Angelica Y. Yang