Sick Boy Dies After Being Punished by Teacher
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-070-2008
3 April 2008
PHILIPPINES: Sick boy dies after being punished by teacher
ISSUES: Torture; corporal punishment; students; child abuse; child
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that a
14-year-old boy who was recovering from typhus, has died after having
been punished by his teacher for failing to do his homework. The boy
and other pupils were forced to do continuous squats. The victim had
just returned to school from hospital where he was admitted for
typhus when he was punished together with other students. He was sent
home after he fell ill and appeared pale. His parents took him back to
the hospital but he died some days later.
Fourteen-year-old Jovan Samson Pascual, was a second year high school
student at the Lagao National High School (LNHS), a public school in
General Santos City. He had been diagnosed to have been suffering
from typhus. His physicians had advised his parents to avoid doing
stressful activities and to take a rest at home.
On 6 March 2008, Jovan reported back to school after having been
absent after being admitted to the hospital for 15 days. When his
teacher, Leonarda Awayan, started asking her students to produce
their homework, Jovan was amongst those several students who were
unable to do so and he and several other students were then told to
come forward in front of their classmates and ordered to do squats.
While Jovan and his other classmates were doing the squats he began
to feel ill and appeared pale. However, although the teacher had been
told that Jovan was recovering from typhus she continued the
punishment. Soon after the teachers sent him home and he arrived
there his parents immediately took him to the General Santos City
Doctors Hospital (GSCDH).
After arriving at the hospital, they were told that Jovan should be
taken to a hospital in Davao City, which is about three hours travel
from General Santos City, for him to get the medical attention he
needed. His parents took him to Davao City where he was confined
until about March 19. On being discharged, when he was being taken
home, he died in the vehicle.
It is alleged that Jovan’s death could have been a result of the
teacher’s punishment aggravating his medical condition. Prior to
Jovan’s death, his parents had already properly informed his teacher
of their son’s illness. In the letter which they had given her, they
provided explanation of Jovan’s health condition and why he had been
absent from school. However, after the incident, however, his teacher
denied knowing her students’ medical condition.