School in burning incident faces license revocation, other charges

By Rhaydz B. Barcia LEGAZPI CITY---The Department of Education in Bicol on Monday asked the board of directors of the Bicol Central Academy (BCA) in Libmanan, Camarines Sur to put on leave teacher-owner-administrator Alexander James Jaucian following the latter’s burning of students’ backpacks and other personal belongings. Gilbert T. Sadsad, DepEd regional director in Bicol said that he would also ask the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to file a criminal case against Jaucian for violation of child protection policy which is tantamount to revocation of the school permit. Sadsad said that the act made by Jaucian was completely unacceptable as it caused fear and trauma among the affected students in Grade 11 of the said school. “We will ask the board of directors (BOD) of Bicol Central Academy to remove him (Alexander James Jaucian) from the school management and also the Department of Social Welfare Development to file criminal charges while also asking the Bureau of Fire Protection in Libmanan to investigate a possible case of arson,” he said. Sadsad personally visited the BCA along with the guidance counsellors in Camarines Sur to conduct stress debriefing among the students affected by Jaucian’s action. Sadsad said that some students he talked to and interviewed by guidance counsellors expressed anger and hatred for what Jaucian had done. Jaucian was not present when Sadsad came to school as he was in Manila to report and explain his action before the members of the board of directors of Bicol Central Academy but promised to be present on the second meeting scheduled for yesterday, August 22. Sadsad said that before his visit, Jaucian called him up explaining his side narrating what really transpired on Friday. According to Sadsad, Jaucian admitted to him that he ordered their utility man to gather the bags of the Grade 11 students and set them on fire for violating the “no big bags” policy of the academy. Jaucian said that senior high students were instructed on Friday, August 17, not to bring backpacks as they would be wearing business attire that day for Tatsumake Day, which meant that on that day, Grade 11 students would be in business attires as they will act as student-teachers to the Grade School pupils. Jaucian told to Sadsad that the utility man was able to gather at least 25 to 30 bags and torched it all. Sadsad said Jaucian promised to pay the students for the damages incurred. Some of the 15 students who came during the stress debriefing told DepEd officials that they had laptop, cellular phones, pocket wifi and P2,500 cash set ablaze on Friday, Aug. 17 inside the campus. When asked what would be the possible sanction against the BCA, Sadsad said that they’re looking into the possibility of permit revocation for senior high school only because the incident had nothing to do with the students from Kinder to junior high school. The Bicol Central Academy has been operating as a private school for more than 70 years. Sadsad said investigators will also find out if there was prima facie evidence to merit a case for violation of child protection policy which is tantamount to revocation of permit for thee school to operate. Depending on evidence to be gathered, the BCA may also no longer eligible to the Government’s Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE), or the Senior High School voucher program. Based on the record of DepEd Bicol, the Bicol Central Academy as recipient of GASTPE program the BCA received in Camarines Sur the highest allocation from government with P5,936,000 for SHS voucher program for school year 2017-2018. Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones directed DepEd Bicol director Gilbert Sadsad on Monday to check the school administrator’s accountability following the incident. If the accountability is established, Briones said DepEd has regulatory tools for private schools at its disposal: a possible suspension or revocation of the school’s permit to operate; or disqualification of the school to participate in the Education Service Contracting and Senior High Scholl Voucher Program; or non-issuance of favorable recommendation for tax exemption, like import duties. Briones said that while DepEd’s child protection policy requires complaint for child abuse or violence to be filed with the school head of private schools, parents of the affected students are advised to file complaints or administrative charges against the school administrator with the proper authorities. She also recommended the school board to advise school administrator (Jaucian) to go on leave to make way for an impartial probe and to allay the students’ fear. Briones said that the education department is committed to the full and strengthened implementation of the child protection policy and to ensuring that learners are in a school environment that does not infringe on their rights, safety and dignity. “DepEd wants to assure parents that the investigation will be just and fair and we will not hesitate to impose the necessary sanctions on those who are proven to have violated the said policy,” Briones said in a press statement on Monday here.