Lawmakers want schools safe from drugs and violence

LAWMAKERS have filed a measure urging the community to join hands to help the government in making public schools throughout the country safe from drugs and violence.

Reps. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) filed House Bill 6607 establishing a program that will ensure safe school environments and provide quality education for the students in public schools.

Arroyo said the continued presence of violent students who pose a threat to both teachers and students is incompatible to a safe learning environment, which the State wants to provide to students to encourage them to go to school.

According to Arroyo, “there must be greater cooperation between schools, parents, law enforcement, the courts, and the community to make schools free from drugs and violence.”

“We stand a fighting chance to compete in the global economy if we have a better-educated citizenry and workforce and more importantly, in maintaining a vibrant democracy,” Arroyo said.

“It is the policy of the State to give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development,” Arroyo added.

Under the measure, parents, former armed forces personnel, and community volunteers will be ask to monitor the activities of people involved in drug dealing and other violent crimes in the school premises.

The bill mandates the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of National Defense to share its resources for the training and salary of former members of the Armed Forces, who shall be hired as teachers and be assigned to teach in public elementary and secondary schools.

The measure requires the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) to develop and establish innovative programs that focuses on providing parent and teacher notification of crimes or drug activity occurring at school.

The program includes among others, suspension, delay, or restriction of driving privileges of students who have a conviction, adjudication in juvenile proceedings, or findings in school disciplinary proceeding involving drugs.

Schools will also be provided with metal detectors, fences, closed circuit cameras, increased police patrols in and around schools, gun hotlines and mailing to parents at the beginning of the school year stating that possession of gun or other weapons and sale of drugs in school will not be tolerated by school authorities.

Under the bill, students who are found guilty of selling drugs, or have committed violent offenses to other student or teacher shall be expelled.

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