THE Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday, January 26, 2023, it will seek the assistance of mental health experts and advocates to come up with effective programs to address related issues in schools.

“We acknowledge the recent incidents involving violence in schools. We can see from the circumstances surrounding such incidents that they are related to mental health issues,” DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said in a message to reporters.

“The department commits to seek out mental health experts and advocates to be able to formulate and implement effective programs to address such issues at the school level,” he added.

Poa made the statement following several violent incidents involving students.

Last week, a Grade 7 student of Culiat High School in Quezon City stabbed to death his schoolmate allegedly due to jealousy.

On Thursday morning, a 12-year-old boy died after a firearm, which he sneaked out from his police father’s cabinet, accidentally went off while he was playing it inside his school’s comfort room.

Poa said Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio has already ordered DepEd field units to coordinate with their Philippine National Police counterparts in their areas of jurisdiction in identifying schools that require spot inspections of weapons among personnel and learners.

In defending the P150-million confidential fund of the department, Duterte said DepEd is dealing with a lot of problems involving learners such as sexual grooming and/or sexual abuse involving school officials/personnel, recruitment of children in criminal activities, drug use among youth, among others.

She said the DepEd needs the assistance of the security sector to address these challenges, which may endanger basic education. (SunStar Philippines)