DepEd to probe death of Grade 10 student due to alleged hazing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday vowed to immediately investigate the death of a Grade 10 student in Negros Occidental allegedly due to hazing.

In a statement, the agency strongly condemned acts of violence and stressed that hazing, or initiation rites associated with fraternities, sororities and similar organizations among students, is strictly prohibited.

"The Department will ensure that investigations will be carried out immediately," it said.

DepEd added that any act of gang-related or fraternity violence committed by learners shall be dealt with accordingly.

The victim from San Enrique town joined a fraternity, according to Police Lieutenant Sammy Gasataya, the municipality's deputy police chief.

The student just turned 18 on Sept. 3. After his birthday, he told his parents he was hit with a paddle. He died on Sept. 9.

"Infection po 'yung cause of death niya [He died due to an infection], brought by blood coming from the crushed muscle of both lower legs where he was paddled," Gasataya told CNN Philippines.

A paddle was later found in the house of one of the three identified suspects, he added.

Gasataya said the victim's parents have yet to formally file a criminal complaint.

"We deeply regret and sympathize with the family during this difficult time and pray that they be accorded the justice that they deserve," DepEd said.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is also investigating the incident.

"CHR has always held a strong stance against hazing and its consequences," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement on Tuesday.

"While online schooling has been the norm during the pandemic, we remind schools and higher education institutions that they remain duty-bound to uphold and protect the rights of their students, and hazing is a direct violation of their student's right to safety, security, and a threat to their well-being," she added.