Students demand removal of teaching licenses for sexual abusers on International Women’s Day

A newly launched coalition of advocates for students’ safety has launched a campaign to remove “predatory” educators’ license to teach in the Philippines. On International Women’s Day, the group Safer Campuses Ph submitted a position paper to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in Manila, seeking an amendment to the Safe Spaces Act to include the blacklisting of teachers found guilty of sexually harassing students.

Safer Campuses Ph was established on February 10 with the aim of ensuring students’ safety against sexual predators and enablers. The group believes that despite the ratification of the Safe Spaces Act five years ago, there is a need for stronger measures to address campus-based sexual harassment.

Among the proposed amendments to the Safe Spaces Act is the revocation of licenses for “campus predators” and their permanent blacklisting. The group argues that predators should not be allowed to teach or work with students after their first offense, as they may continue to prey on other students if they are not permanently removed from educational institutions.

The group also highlighted cases where school administrations were slow to remove teachers accused of sexual harassment or failed to prevent accused educators from entering campus. Victims of sexual harassment often faced challenges in seeking accountability from school administrations, leading them to air their grievances on social media.

In addition to amending the Safe Spaces Act, Safer Campuses Ph is campaigning for the creation of a national sex offender registry to prevent teachers with a history of abusing students from seeking employment in other schools. The group believes that a publicly available registry would help keep predators out of educational institutions and other employment that would put vulnerable populations at risk.

The Department of Education reported receiving 70 complaints related to sexual harassment through its hotline for student safety concerns in 2023. Youth group Enough is Enough expressed concern over the number of cases that have gone unreported, highlighting the need for stronger measures to address sexual harassment in schools.

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