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By:

ULPIANO ULAN P. SARMIENTO III Teacher-Lawyer


Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports Cultural Educational Association (NOPSSCEA) Bacolod City @ September 4, 2008

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Required Personnel Conduct
Every teacher shall merit reasonable social recognition for which purpose he shall behave with honor and dignity at all times and refrain from such activities as gambling, smoking, drunkenness and other excesses, much less illicit relations.
(Code of Ethics, Article III, Section 3)

A teacher shall place premium upon self-respect and self-discipline as the principle of personal behavior in all relationships with others and in all situations.
(Code of Ethics, Article XI, Section 2)

A teacher shall maintain at all times a dignified personality which could serve as model worthy of emulation by learners, peers, and others.
(Code of Ethics, Article XI, Section 3)

DONT
Grave Misconduct
Meaning: which is The willful, improper behavior, and implies wrongful intent and NOT mere error of judgment Violation of an established and definite rule of action

Labor Jurisprudence
For GRAVE MISCONDUCT to be valid and just cause for termination

x x x must be a DIRECT RELATION to and CONNECTED with performance of official duties.

As a rule
MISCONDUCT outside workplace / beyond working hours NOT a valid ground to terminate employee

Issue No. 1
Query:
Is GRAVE MISCONDUCT committed by School Personnel outside the school campus and beyond school hours a valid ground or just cause for termination?

Is this applicable to school personnel?

Joseph Santos vs. NLRC, Hagonoy Institute, Inc.


As teacher, (one) serves as an example to his/her pupils xxx. Consequently xxx teachers must adhere to the exacting standards of morality and decency. xxx A teacher both in his official and personal conduct must display exemplary behavior. He must freely and willingly accept restrictions on his conduct that might be viewed irksome xxx the personal behavior of teachers, IN AND OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM, must be beyond reproach xxx they must observe a high standard of integrity and honesty.

How about NonAcademic Personnel?

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Are Non-Academic Personnel also obliged to discipline students?
ANSWER
Section 74 of MRPS provides:

Every private school shall maintain good school discipline x x x.

Hence
All school personnel, Academic or NonAcademic, have the duty to a) Teach discipline; b) Prevent intended misconduct from being committed; c) Stop a misconduct being committed; and d) Report to authorities students misconduct

DONT
However, non-academic personnel DOES NOT have authority to impose sanctions/penalties for Student Misconduct. REASON

Section 75 of MRPS provides that only x x x School officials and academic personnel shall have the right to impose appropriate and reasonable disciplinary measures in cases of minor offenses or infraction of good discipline committed in their presence. x x x

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Legal Basis to Discipline Students

1)To establish and maintain order in school campus

Legal Responsibility of Schools


In PSBC vs. CA

Institutions of learning must also meet the implicit or built-in obligations of providing their students with an atmosphere that promotes or assists in attaining its primary undertaking of imparting knowledge.

Certainly, no student can absorb the intricacies of physics or higher mathematics or explore the realm of the arts and other sciences when bullets are flying or grenades exploding in the air or where there looms around the school premises a constant threat to life and limb.

Necessarily, the school must ensure that adequate steps are taken to maintain peace and order within the campus premises and to prevent the breakdown thereof.

2)To develop moral character and personal discipline

x x x a College has a vital interest in the character of students x x x


School responsibility for character development for maintaining standards of decency and good taste, and for providing a moral climate in and outside the campus.

3)To protect the good name and reputation of School

The Supreme Court said in Angeles vs. Sison, schools obligation to discipline is to protect the x x x good name or reputation of the school.

Issue No. 2

Extent of School Authority to Discipline

Extent of School Authority to Discipline

How far does the schools authority to maintain school discipline among its community members, particularly its students, extend?

ANSWER:
It is undisputed that the school can discipline its community members within the school campus during class hours.
Whether that authority applies even outside of the school premises and class hours, the Supreme Court said

xxx It is the better view that there are instances when the school might be called upon to exercise its power over its students xxx for acts committed outside the school and beyond school hours in the following:
a) In cases of violations of school policies or regulations occurring in connection with a school-sponsored activity off-campus; b) In case where the misconduct of the student involves his status as a student or affects the good name or reputation of the school.

Therefore when students misbehave outside the campus and the misconduct complained of directly affects the offenders status as a suitable member of that community, there is no reason why schools may not impose disciplinary sanctions on him.

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In imposing SANCTIONS

Parental Authority to Discipline


As parents, the teachers shall use discipline not to punish but to correct, not to force, but to motivate; and not to obey with rigid cadence, but to choose to follow the right way.

Hence, teachers cannot generally use methods of punishing or such degree of penalties that a good mother or a good father would not likely use on her/his own children.

As a PARENT: Principal Duty to Exercise Parental Authority and Responsibility

Article 218, Family Code provides


The school, its administrators and teachers xxx engaged in child care shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.

Code of Ethics states


The schools are the nurseries of the citizens of the State. Each teacher is a trustee of the culture and educational heritage of the nation and is under obligation to transmit to learners such heritage as well as to elevate national morality, promote national pride, cultivate love of country, instill allegiance to the Constitution and respect for all duly constituted authorities, and promote obedience to the laws of the State.
(Article II, Section 1)

A teacher shall recognize that the interest and welfare of learners are his first and foremost concern, and shall handle each learner justly and impartially.
(Article VII, Section 2)

DONT
As parents, teachers are strictly prohibited from committing the following acts/omission or conduct.

Basic Prohibition in Imposing Sanctions

No cruel or physically harmful punishment shall be imposed or applied x x x.

Corporal Punishment (Article 233, 2nd par.)

In no case x x x inflict corporal punishment upon the child.


Definition: An act that inflict pain or harm upon a childs body as punishment for wrong doing usually through beating and spanking Elements: (a) physical contact (b) to inflict pain

VIII, 8. A teacher shall not inflict corporal punishment on offending learners nor make deductions from their scholastic ratings as a punishment for acts which are clearly not manifestations of poor scholarship.

Sale of Tickets; Collection of Contribution/ Donations from Pupils / Parents

BP 232, Sec. 9 (9) - students have right to be free from (voluntary) involuntary contributions Improper or unauthorized solicitation of contributions from subordinate employees and by teachers or school officials from school children

In computing the grades


Section 16 (5) of BP 232 mandates that a teacher shall Refrain from making deductions or additions in students scholastic ratings for acts that are clearly not manifestations of xxx scholarship.

Hence, Section 79 of the MRPS


Basis for Grading. The xxx grade or rating xxx in a student should be based SOLELY on his scholastic performance. Any addition or diminution to the grade in a subject for co-curricular activities, attendance, or misconduct shall NOT be allowed xxx.

Code of Ethics provides

A teacher shall not xxx make deductions from their scholastic ratings as a punishment for acts which are clearly not manifestations of poor scholarship.
(Article VIII, Section 8)

Child Abuse
is maltreatment, whether habitual or NOT, of child which includes any of the following:
1) Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;

2) Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of child as a human being; 3) Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or

4) Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or his permanent incapacity or death.

When is Punishment for Children Misconduct, Abusive, Cruel, etc.


Answer: One that a good/responsible father or mother will never use on their own child or those that are prohibited by law
Reason: Special Parental Authority/ Responsibility required of schools by Article 218 of Family Code

Defamation/Libel
Three (3) common circumstances in which schools might defame students or their parents in the normal course of their duties 1. While making derogatory verbal comments to other teachers, administrators, students or others

2. Recording derogatory references that might be consulted by other schools or employers 3. Placing derogatory written statements in a students report card or cumulative record

DONT
Solution to Avoid Possible Liability
Do NOT characterize the students or parents action (Not adjective) BUT to present an illustration of behavior actually encountered. (Facts)

ADVISE: AVOID descriptors and characterization in favor of brief factual statements of behavior and the circumstances surrounding it

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SEVEN CRITERIA may be used to help insure that anecdotal information entered in students record satisfies the legal and professional requirements

Seven (7) Criteria to Ensure Anecdotal Information


1) Descriptive; 2) Verified; 3) Interpretation limited to professional skills; 4) Complete; 5) Useful; 6) Objective; 7) Dated and signed

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DUTY OF TEACHERS (Based on Law)
As an EDUCATOR

1987 Constitution states:


xxx The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.
(Article XIV, Section 1)

Principal Duty or Obligation is to Ensure Quality Education


What is QUALITY EDUCATION? x x x making sure that basic education is really solid, because if it is not solid, it affects the quality of secondary education. If secondary education is poor, then the person goes to college unprepared for college work. And if he is allowed to graduate again with a poor quality college education, he goes to university professional education even more unprepared. - Rev. Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ

In short

A school, before promoting or graduating a student, must be sure that he/she (the student) is functionally literate to go through next higher level.

To ensure Quality Education:


1) Must be COMPETENT and EFFICIENT

Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers, Article IV, Section 2


Every teacher shall uphold the highest possible standards of quality education, shall make the best preparation for the career of teaching, and shall be at his best at all times in the practice of his profession.

In short

A teacher is expected to be efficient and competent in the performance of his academic duties at all times.
Otherwise,

DONT
A teacher who has consistently shown his inability to efficiently perform his duties and responsibilities, within a common performance standards should not be allowed to stay in school x x x.

The MRPS provides as just cause of terminating a faculty


Gross inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of his duties x x x.
(Section 3 (a))

Hence, the Supreme Court held in Evelyn Pea vs. NLRC that x x x schools can set high standards of efficiency for its teachers since quality education is a mandate of the Constitution xxx security of tenure xxx cannot be used to shield incompetence.

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Must Evaluate Learners
Code of Ethics, Article III, Section 6 A teacher shall base the evaluation of the learners work on merit and quality of academic performance.

DONT
In Computing the Grades
Section 16 (5) of BP 232 mandates that a teacher shall
Refrain from making deductions or additions in students scholastic ratings for acts that are clearly not manifestations of xxx scholarship.

DO
Hence, Section 79 of the MRPS
Basis for Grading. The xxx grade or rating xxx in a student should be based SOLELY on his scholastic performance. Any addition or diminution to the grade in a subject for co-curricular activities, attendance, or misconduct shall NOT be allowed xxx.

DONT
Under no circumstances shall a teacher be prejudiced nor discriminatory against any learner.
(Article VIII, Section 3)

A teacher shall not accept favors or gifts from learners, their parents or others in their behalf in exchange for requested concessions, especially if undeserved.
(Article VIII, Section 4)

Code of Ethics provides A teacher shall not xxx make deductions from their scholastic ratings as a punishment for acts which are clearly not manifestations of poor scholarship.
(Article VIII, Section 8)

Thus, it is not a matter of discretion on the part of the teachers in the giving of the students grades, but rather it is a clear obligation for the teachers to determine student academic marks solely based on scholastic performance. For a teacher to do otherwise, would be serious academic malpractice or grave misconduct in the performance of his/her duties.

In Padilla vs. NLRC, SBC, the Supreme Court said

This Court is convinced that the pressure and influence exerted by (a teacher) on his colleague to change a failing grade to passing one xxx constitute serious misconduct which is a valid ground for dismissing an employee.

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Give Grades to Students/Parents
Section 16(3) of BP 232, TEACHER SHALL Render regular reports on performance of each student and to the latter and to the latters parents and guardians with specific suggestions for improvement. and...

Must promptly render or give grades. Otherwise, the unjustified or unreasonable delay in giving grades constitutes gross neglect of duty
Because

x x x students have the right

Section 9 (4) The right to access to school records xxx. -ANDSection 9 (5) xxx issuance of (school records) within 30 days from request.

DONT
In the recent case of University of the East vs. Romeo A. Jader, the Supreme Court, in no uncertain terms, declared
The court takes judicial notice of the traditional practice in educational institutions wherein (teacher) directly furnishes x x x students their grades. It is the contractual obligation of the school (through the teachers) to TIMELY INFORM AND FURNISH sufficient notice and information to each and every student x x x.

x x x The negligent act of a (teacher) who fails to observe the rules of the school, for instance, by not promptly submitting a students grade is not only imputable to the teacher but is an act of the school being his/her employer x x x.

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As a PARENT: Principal Duty to Exercise Parental Authority and Responsibility Article 218, Family Code provides The school, its administrators and teachers xxx engaged in child care shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.

Parental Responsibility
The student / pupil while in school, is in the custody and hence, the responsibility of the school authorities as long as he is under the control and influence of the school, whether the semester has not yet begun or has already ended.

In Amadora vs. CA, the Supreme Court said


Even if the student is just relaxing in the campus in the company of his classmates, x x x the student is still within the custody and subject to the discipline and responsibility of the teachers x x x.

DONT
Hence
A teacher required to exercise special parental authority but who fails to observe all the diligence of a good father of a family in the custody and care of the pupils and students, shall be held liable for gross neglect of duty.

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