DepEd guidance counselors extend assistance to Bicol’s children at risk

LEGAZPI CITY --- Putting premium on the welfare of students, the Department of Education in Bicol (DepEd-5) has employed guidance counselors and teachers to monitor children at risk in schools.

Mark Kevin Arroco, project development officer of DepEd-5, said guidance counselors and teachers conduct the initial identification of children at risk of becoming juvenile offenders using an identification and risk assessment tool.

Through this, they can apply appropriate intervention to lead back the child to his or her developmental course.

Under DepEd Order 18, children at risk are those vulnerable or at risk of behaving in a way that can harm themselves or the others. They also refer to children susceptible to come into conflict with the law due to personal, family and social circumstances.

Children at risk also involve those students who violated ordinances enacted by local government units concerning juvenile status offenses such as curfew, anti-smoking and anti-drinking laws.

Also those who committed light offenses against public order or safety such as public scandal, harassment, drunkenness, criminal nuisance, vandalism, gambling, littering and trespassing.

Arroco said they are providing knowledge and awareness to students regarding these violations to prevent them from committing an offense.

He said DepEd always encourages licensed guidance counselors to help guide the students follow the right track.

“We reminded the guidance counselors to have a proper approach in dealing with the children. It should not trigger the child to stop attending classes,” Arroco said.

He added that they have changed the misconceptions on students invited for guidance counseling with the presence of their parents.

“When they go to the guidance office, it does not mean those kids are bad persons. They just need the help and guidance of the teachers to properly address their problems and for them to behave well,” he said. Arroco also noted that today’s children seek help from guidance counselors to help them overcome their problems on or off the school campus. PIA-5