The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday reaffirmed its stance against all forms of abuses perpetrated in schools in light of the recent string of sexual harassment cases being brought to light.

In a statement, DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said the DepEd was taking all reports about abuse seriously.

“DepEd is taking all reports about sexual abuse and violence against our learners in schools seriously as we are determined to ensure that schools all over the country are safe spaces for our learners and free from sexual predators,” he said.

Poa assured the public that the DepEd would deal with such cases with the utmost confidentiality.

“We understand that reporting experiences of sexual abuse and violence are often hampered by fear and feeling of embarrassment, but we urge Kindergarten to Grade 12 victim-survivors to report these incidents directly to the Office of the Secretary,” he said.

In a media briefing, Poa reported that five out of the seven teachers tagged in a recent sexual harassment case in Cavite had already been charged with grave misconduct.

“When we spoke with the schools division office and legal department, they said there was not enough evidence yet to include the two others in the complaint. That’s why we were only able to press charges against the five,” he said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, recently said teachers who had repeatedly conducted sexual abuse should be barred from teaching altogether. John Ezekiel J. Hirro