Not in Our School: The First Step

By Nathaniel Gan (H3D), David Ahyong (H4C), and Patrick Lim (H4C), Xavier Stallion
photos provided by Mr. Alvin Ang and Ms. Clarisse Ednacot

Last August 13, 2013, Xavier School formally relaunched its anti-bullying campaign, entitled “Not in Our School”, during the high school general assembly.

The campaign was introduced to the audience by the school’s High School Principal, Mrs. Jane Cacacho, who spoke to the community about the relevance of bullying as a social issue. She then gave the floor to the Xavier School President, Father Aristotle C. Dy, SJ, who primarily discussed the need for cooperation among the high school community in addressing bullying. Lorenzo Arceo, High School Student Council President, presented a promotional video regarding a student’s responsibility and role in the community regarding the matter of bullying, and the assembly ended with high spirits as Ms. Chaveli Ventosa, Head of the High School Office of Disciplinary Services (ODS), announced the implementation of Xavier’s two new procedures that involves the utilization of technological innovation to tackle the issue.

In Xavier School, bullying is regarded as a serious matter since it hampers a student’s ability to develop and grow in an educational environment. It may cause physical, psychological, and emotional trauma to the victims. Therefore, to address this concern and prevent any future ramifications, the school conceived the anti-bullying campaign to increase the community’s social consciousness, provide suitable programs in tackling this imminent issue, and to take initiative in the fight against bullying.

Central Role of the Students

Lorenzo Arceo premiered a student-made video that emphasizes the role of bystanders as intermediaries since they have the power and capability to prevent or halt the incident from occurring. In the video, a student initially lives his own day to day routines without any difficulties, only mindful of his own situation. This mindset changes as the student witnesses instances of bullying, such as a younger student being pushed in the corridor, and another student’s lunch being forcefully taken. The student experiences a change within and decides to assist the bullied individual either by walking in between the bully and the bullied, or by reporting the incident to the proper authorities. The video is a reflection of how each student has the capacity to address the problem of bullying by reporting the incident, or by acting as a guardian for the bullied. Thus, students are empowered to safeguard students who are in need of support and truly upholding, in both words and deeds, the Xavier ideal of being “men for others.”

New Courses of Action

Before the launch of the anti-bullying campaign this year, if a student wished to report a bullying incident, he had to approach the ODS. In the recently concluded assembly, two new methods of fighting and preventing bullying was presented to the community: 1) drop boxes at the end of each corridor, and 2) official school anti-bullying e-mail addresses—niosgs@xs.edu.ph for grade school, and nioshs@xs.edu.ph for high school. These two ways are meant to provide the students alternative procedures in reporting bullying incidents. In addition to providing alternatives, it also provides the advantage of confidentiality to the student, while making the process of reporting easier and more accessible. Lastly, according to Mrs. Cacacho, these new methods can help reduce the students’ fear of retaliation from their peers, and so they may have more courage to speak up.

A Long Journey Ahead

Mrs. Cacacho expressed that school has always regarded bullying as a serious problem. However, response from the community has not been proactive, which is of the main reason Xavier’s administrators conceptualized a concerted anti-bullying campaign last year. The anti-bullying campaign is currently on in its second year, and although various new and expansive programs have been implemented, Xavier still has a long and arduous journey in its struggle to eliminate bullying. The school’s programs will constantly evolve and change according to the needs of the school, and as such, an annual evaluation will be held by the school in order to assess the effectivity and success of the campaign throughout the year. Ultimately, all these efforts and procedures are being undertaken by the school so that Xavier School furthers its stand against bullying, effectively becoming a safer school for the students, an example for others to follow, and a greater force against the stigma that is bullying.

 

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