Salient Features of the Student Rights and Welfare Bill
I. RIGHT TO ADMISSION WITHOUT UNDUE DISCRIMINATION
No student shall be denied admission to any school on account of his/her physical handicap, socio-economic status, political and religious beliefs, sexual orientation or membership of student organizations, nor shall pregnant students certified reformed drug abusers and those suffering from immune deficiency syndrome be discriminated against
Failure of or refusal of student to sign waiver documents prepared by the school administration shall not constitute a ground for his/her non-admission.
Students shall have the right freely to choose his/her fields of study subject to existing curricula and to continue his/her course up to graduation except in case of academic deficiency or violation of disciplinary regulations that do not infringe upon the exercise of student’s rights and welfare.
II. RIGHT TO COMPETENT INSTRUCTION AND RELEVANT QULAITY EDUCATION
Every student shall have the right to competent instruction and quality education relevant to his/her personal and cultural development and that of the nation.
Students shall have the right to make a written evaluation of the performance of their teachers towards the end of the school term.
III. RIGHT TO ADEQUATE WELFARE SERVICES AND ACADEMIC FACILITIES
It shall be the responsibility of the school administration to provide the students with adequate welfare services and academic facilities relative to the financial capacity of the school.
The school shall endeavor to provide free annual physical check-up to the students. It shall be the responsibility of the school authorities to provide students with adequate laboratory, library, research, recreation and physical education facilities.
It shall be the responsibility of the school administration to promptly notify student concerned of letters and other communications it receives in behalf of the students.
IV. RIGHT TO ORGANIZE STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
Unity and collective effort being fundamental in realization of common goals and the promotion and protection of common interest, the State recognizes the rights of the students to organize among themselves.
The rights of the students to form, assist, or join other organization, alliance or federation for their physical, intellectual, moral, cultural, civic, spiritual, and political interest shall not be abridged. Pursuant thereto, the practice of making students sign waiver document which states that they are not members of and will not join a specified organization before being allowed to enroll is hereby prohibited.
V. RIGHT TO BE ACCREDITED AND GRANTED OF PRIVILEGES TO STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
No unreasonable requirements shall be imposed on student organization seeking recognition.
Accreditation shall be granted upon the submission by the organization concerned of its concept paper and constitution and a formal letter addressed to the student council stating the organizations intent to be accredited.
At tertiary level, the student council in coordination of the student affairs office shall take charge of the accreditation and re-accreditation of student organizations. The student council and the council of leaders composed of heads of different student organizations shall formulate the guidelines concerning accreditation jointly. The student council shall oversee the implementation of these guidelines and mediate in instances of conflicts.
There shall be no discrimination in the assignment of school facilities and granting of other privileges to student organizations. The school administration shall endeavor to provide, free of charge, a hall of or building to house the offices of the different student organizations within the premises of the school.
Excessive charges for the use of school facilities shall be prohibited. Whenever possible, the school administration shall allow student organizations to use school facilities free of charge.
All on and off campus activities of student organizations shall be coordinated by the student council/government.
VI. RIGHT TO ORGANIZE A STUDENT COUNCIL/GOVERNMENT
The State shall ensure the existence of democratic autonomous student councils/governments. Pursuant thereto, there shall be one university student council/government for each school campus that shall be given recognition by the schools, colleges and universities concerned. It shall have its own set of officers elected in annual popular elections. Every student council/government shall have the right to determine its policies and programs on student activities subject to its duly ratified charter or constitution and to school rules and regulations provided the same do not infringe on the basic human rights.
VII. Student COUNCIL/Government Charter or Constitutions
The Student Council/Government Charter or Constitution shall be formed by the representatives of all student organizations in a school and shall be ratified by the student body.
VIII. FORMATION OF THE STUDENT COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
There is hereby created a Commission on Elections (COMELEC) that shall conduct and oversee the election of officers of the student council/government. The Student Affairs Office shall choose the members of the Commission from among the list of the nominees recommended by the student council/government.
Once constituted, the COMELEC shall be independent and autonomous from any sector of the school and shall ensure the conduct of clean, honest and peaceful elections. The school must provide the COMELEC sufficient funds to ensure the success of its goals and objectives.
IX. PROHIBITION IN THE USE OF FORCE AND EXACTION OF EXCESSIVE FEES
All campus organizations shall be prohibited using force in the initiation of and exacting excessive fees from their members as well as their other student activities.
X. REPRESENTATION IN POLICY – MAKING BODY
As far as practicable and consistent with school rule’s and regulations, there shall be a student representative in the policy-formulating body of the school. The duly elected student representative from the selection process of the Student Council/Government shall represent the student body to the policy-making body. He shall have the same rights as that of the regular member, but his privileges shall be limited to reimbursement for actual expenses in attending meetings.
XI. RIGHT TO BE INFORMED
The rights of the students to information on matters directly or indirectly affecting their welfare shall be recognized. Access to official records and other pertinent documents and papers pertaining to official act, transactions or decisions shall be afforded by the students subject only to reasonable regulations that maybe imposed such as time for examining the documents and other papers to prevent loss or damage of the same.
XII. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Subject to existing laws, students shall have the right to freely express their views and opinions. They shall have the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government and school authorities for the redress of their grievances. Pursuant thereto, no school regulation shall be imposed violating or abridging the student’s right to assembly.
Student shall have access to print and broadcast media in their information activities. They shall also have the right to print, circulate and/or mount leaflets, newsletters, posters, wall news, petitions and such other materials. Pursuant thereto, the school authorities shall ensure the provision of facilities such as bulletin boards for the mounting of the aforementioned materials.
School authorities may designate a certain area on every campus as a freedom park where students, can freely discuss issues directly and indirectly affecting them.
XIII. STUDENT PUBLICATION
Students shall have the right to publish student newspaper and other similar publications, print in their pages materials that they deem in pursuance of their academic freedom and freedom of expression in accordance with Republic Act NO. 7079, otherwise known as the “Campus Journalism Act of 1991.” Pursuant thereto, no individual who is not a staff member of the publication shall determine its content. The role of the faculty adviser in the student newspaper shall be limited to technical guidance.
The selection of the student editor-in-chief and his/her staff shall be made by annual fair and competitive examinations to be administered by an impartial Board of Judges.
The editorial staff shall observe the ethics of professional journalism. It shall be the responsibility of the editorial staff to ensure that the student paper is not used for purposes contrary to law.
The editor/editorial staff shall, unless sooner removed for cause and with due process, be assured of security of tenure for the duration of his/her its prescribed term.
XIV. ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Students’ academic freedom shall consist of, but not limited to, the following rights:
To conduct researches in connection with academic work, and to freely discuss and publish their findings and recommendations;
To conduct inquiry within the campus in curricular and extra-curricular activities;
To choose a field of study and to pursue the quest for truth; to express their opinion on any subject or public or general concern which directly or indirectly affects the students of the educational system;
To invite off-campus speakers or resource persons to student-sponsored assemblies, fora, symposia, and other similar activities;
To express contrary interpretations or dissenting opinions inside and outside the classroom;
To participate in the drafting of a new curriculum and in the review or revision of the old;
To participate in the drafting and/or revising of the student handbook which shall include the school rules and regulations, a copy of which shall be furnished the students upon admission to the school; and
To be free from any form of indoctrination leading to imposed ideological hegemony.
XV. RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS
A student subject to disciplinary proceedings shall have the right to defend himself, to be heard and to present evidence on his/her behalf before an impartial body. There shall be a Student Disciplinary Board to be composed of one (1) representative from the school administration, two (2) faculty members and two (2) students to conduct investigations into and decide on cases of student violations of disciplinary standards. Both the faculty and the student representatives shall be endorsed by the student council/government.
The blacklisting, expulsion, suspension and other such disciplinary sanctions that maybe taken against a student shall not be valid unless the following rights have been observed and accorded the student:
The right to be informed in writing of the nature and cause of the accusation against him/her;
The right to confront witness against him/her and to full access to the evidence in the case;
The right to defend himself/herself and to be defended by a representative or counsel of his/her choice, adequate time being given to him/her for the preparation of his/her defense;
The right to a hearing before the Student Disciplinary Board;
The right against self-incrimination; and
The right to appeal adverse decision of the Student Disciplinary Board to the governing board and ultimately to the appropriate education agencies.
The decision in any disciplinary proceeding must be rendered on the basis of relevant and substantial evidence presented at the hearing, or at the least contained in the record and disclosed to the student affected.
The deciding body should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the issues involved, and the reasons for any decision rendered are made clear to the student.
Disciplinary sanction shall be corrective rather than punitive or penal in nature. The gravity of disciplinary sanctions must be proportionate to the seriousness of the violation committed.
The Office of the Guidance Counselor of the respective schools in consultation with the Student Disciplinary Board shall publish on a periodic basis acts that are deemed violative of the school rules and regulations and the corresponding disciplinary sanctions. Provided, that such rules and regulations do not violate the rights guaranteed herein and under the Constitution.
XVI. RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES
Every student shall be free from any form of unreasonable search and seizure. Except for the following instances no search or seizure of a student shall be deemed valid:
Searches made at the point of ingress and egress by authorized personnel of the school;
Searches and seizure of illegal articles or articles falling in the plain view of dully authorized personnel;
Searches and seizures of articles that are illegal, discovered inadvertently by duly authorized personnel;
Searches made when the student is about to commit, is committing or has just committed a crime or a serious infraction of the school’s rules and regulations;
Searches made with a valid search warrant.
Articles seized in violation of the hereinabove provided rights shall not be used as evidence against the student in any disciplinary action that may be brought against him/her.
XVII. ACCESS TO SCHOOL RECORDS AND ISSUANCE OF OFFICIALS CERTIFICATES
Subject to the provision of the following section, every student shall have access to his/her own school records, the confidentiality of which the school shall maintain. He/She shall have the right to be issued official certificates, diplomas, transcripts of records, grades, transfer credentials and other similar documents within thirty (30) gays from the filing of request and accomplishment of all pertinent requirements.
XVIII. SECURITY OF TENURE
It shall be the right of students to finish their entire courses of study in a given school, except in cases of academic deficiency or violation of disciplinary regulations.
In cases wherein the school authorities refuse to allow a student to enroll for the subsequent semester or year due to the causes hereinabove stated, the student may appeal such ruling to the appropriate education agency
XIX. PROHIBITION AGAINST INVOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS
Except those approved by their own student organizations, all-involuntary contributions shall be prohibited.
XX. COLLECTION OF STUDENT PAPER AND STUDENT COUNCIL FEES
The school administration shall assist the student paper staff and the student council/government, in their financial needs through the collection of student paper and student council fees from the students.
The student paper fees shall be held in trust for their unhampered use in the publication of student paper.
The full amount of student council fees shall be turned over to the student council within fifteen (15) days from the assumption of office of the Student Council Officers.
XXI. PRIVACY OF COMMUNICATION
The privacy of communication and correspondence among students shall remain inviolable.
XXII. SCHOLARSHIP GRANTS AND PRIVILEGES
Opposition to school policies inimical to students’ interest shall not be a ground for denying or withdrawing scholarships grants and privileges to deserving students.
XXIII. RIGHT TO ADEQUATE AND SAFE HOUSING/DORMITORY FACILITIES
The state and the respective school authorities shall endeavor to provide the students adequate, safe and clean housing facilities.
XXIV. PROHIBITION AGAINST MILITARIZATION OF THE SCHOOL CAMPUS
The pursuit of academic excellence and exercise of academic freedom can be attained only in an atmosphere free from fear and unreasonable restraint. Pursuant thereto, no military detachment shall be installed on the school campus.
Military elements and/or policeman in uniform or in plain clothes and school security forces shall not interfere with student activities, particularly peaceful mass actions, inside the school campus.
XXV. FIREARMS BAN
Students shall not be allowed to carry firearms inside the school campus.
They shall be required to deposit such firearms with the school security force prior to their entry to the school premises.
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