Ateneo dismisses student caught bullying in viral video

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 23) — The Ateneo Junior High School student who was caught bullying a fellow student in a viral video has been dismissed from the school.

A statement released by the Office of the President of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Sunday said, "After a thorough investigation that included listening to all parties involved, the decision of the administration is to impose the penalty of dismissal on the student caught bullying another student in the comfort room of the school."

The penalty, according to ADMU President Fr. Jose Ramon "Jett" Villarin SJ, means the dismissed student "is no longer allowed to come back to the Ateneo."

According to Department Order No. 88 of the Department of Education, the penalty of dismissal (exclusion) is when "the school is allowed to exclude or drop the name of the erring pupil or student from the school rolls for being undesirable, and travel credentials immediately issued."

Expulsion, on the other hand, is an extreme penalty where an erring student will not be admitted to any public or private school in the country. This decision would need the approval of the Secretary of Education.

News of the bullying incident spread on social media after the video went viral last week.

The viral clip captured how a student — who appeared to be heckled — was asked to choose between kissing the shoes of his schoolmate or getting beaten up. When the student refused to comply, the other student then proceeded to kick and beat him up.

On Thursday, the Ateneo Junior High School said it was "dealing with the matter" seriously and is conducting an investigation.

A letter issued by Fr. Jett on the same day said the school did not condone the student's behavior.

'We have our codified standards of conduct and all students are made aware of these and their rights and responsibilities. The school is not silent on its stand on violence and it will not hesitate to impose the penalty of dismissal or even expulsion in cases of grave misconduct," Villarin said in his previous statement.

Speaking on the incident, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, "The Palace commends the school administration's swift action on the case of this student. We note, however, that the investigation has yet to be concluded as regards the rest of those involved."

He noted, however, that some bullying incidents still go unpunished by schools.

"We thus urge all public and private educational institutions in the country to establish proper mechanisms to strictly monitor the activities of their students and ensure the strict implementation of Republic Act 10627, otherwise known as the Anti-Bullying Law," Panelo said.