Ateneo Junior High School probes bullying caught on video

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Ateneo de Manila Junior High School (AJHS) launched an investigation after several videos of a student bullying peers on campus went viral online.

These videos showed a student, clad in uniform, attacking a boy in a bathroom after forcing him to choose between "bugbog o dignidad" (getting a beating or keeping his dignity).

The student elaborated on how the scenario would go if the boy would choose to keep his dignity instead: "Kasi kung pinili niya ang dignidad, papaluhurin ko siya, tapos hahalikan niya ang pareho kong sapatos, tapos ipapahalikan ko sa kanya 'yung bayag ko." (If he chooses to keep his dignity, I would make him kneel, kiss my shoes, and kiss my genitals.)

Another video showed the same student forcing a peer to say, "Bobo ako" (I am dumb), along with a threat: "Halikan mo na sapatos ko, para 'di kita bugbugin." (Kiss my shoes, so I won't beat you up.)

What school officials are saying: In a statement on Thursday, December 20, AJHS principal Jose Antonio Salvador addressed the "fighting video." He said the incidents, when taken at face value, depict "an evident act of violence that constitutes a serious violation of disciplinary misconduct."

"The Ateneo Junior High School is dealing with this matter seriously beginning with an immediate investigation that ensued the moment the report reached us," he added.

He also pointed out the risks associated with sharing the video online, and appealed to the public to "help in putting a stop to the indiscriminate spreading of the video."

"Not only has the privacy rights of these minors been breached but it has also provoked some reactions that do little to help the school in dealing appropriately with the incident," he said.

Ateneo de Manila University president Fr Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, also released a separate statement on Thursday night, giving an assurance that the school is "treating the matter with the highest priority and urgency."

"Let me be very clear: the school does not condone such 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.

He also appealed to everyone to be "mindful of consequences spiraling out of control when specific videos and comments are shared on social media."

University President @FrJett has released a statement on the video of violence in Ateneo Junior High School. pic.twitter.com/umeoJROVJA — Ateneo de Manila (@ateneodemanilau) December 20, 2018

 

What people are saying: The circulation of the videos spurred parents and other members of the Ateneo community to call for justice and transparency through the student's expulsion.

A number of commenters on the Facebook post containing the principal's statement also said the bully practiced taekwondo. They suggested stripping the student of his taekwondo belt, saying that he used his skills to intimidate and attack other students. – Rappler.com