Lawyer’s Reaction on the Viral Tiktok Video of a Teacher
Here is a reaction of a lawyer about the Tiktok video of a teacher that went viral online and earned attention from the Department of Education.
Several people have asked me about my reaction to the viral Tiktok video of a teacher and whether it may be subject of a child abuse investigation.
My first reaction was to look for a child in the video and there was none. I also checked whether there were vulgar, profane, or immoral words used in the video, and found that there was also none. I checked also the act of the teacher in the video whether there was obscene or immorality in the conduct, and just found a dancing teacher, and hence found none.
For me personally, I don’t see anything that would lead to a potential child abuse complaint.
But when I was shown reactions and comments in the now deleted Tiktok video, I found homophobic, sexist, gender sensitive comments, slurs, and name calling directed to the teacher in the video. For me, this has more potential for a case of Gender Based Online Sexual Harassment under the Safe Spaces Act or RA 11313 committed against the teacher.
[By the way, I saw posts also of young people dancing in revealing clothes and gyrating, some appear to be minors. I think this should be addressed more if we’re looking for potential child abuses in social media that need to be addressed. We need to guide and protect our children against sexual predators.]
At any rate, respectfully, here are points to consider for the teacher and the authorities:
For the teacher:
1) Please always be reminded that Teachers must adhere to exacting standards of morality, accept restrictions on your conduct, and more importantly, avoid suspicion & impression of immorality. (Read case of Santos v. NLRC, Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers)
2) Be professional in your behavior at all times. (Code of Ethics)
For the authorities:
1) In determining whether an act is immoral, which may be a basis for a complaint, the totality of circumstances must be considered; and the public morality shall determine the prevailing norms of conduct. (e.g. is dancing on Tiktok considered immoral now, or saying a student is cute, based on public standards?) (See case of Leus vs SSC)
2) More importantly, subjecting teachers to sanctions including reprimand or calling out, should not be made public. (See Magna Carta for Public School Teachers or RA 4670)
For all schools, here are some suggestions for institutional policies (pls disregard if you already have)
1. Rules implementing the Safe Spaces Act;
2. Social Media Policy on what is allowed and prohibited conduct on social media for students, school personnel and teachers;
3. Updated Child Protection Policy to cover online learning platforms and social media.
We can all learn from the incident, but we can also be kind and fair in our judgments.
Have a fruitful day everyone! God bless!
Credits: Atty. Joseph Noel M. Estrada