My sons are ‘criminals’

If the Department of Education is to be believed, both my sons who sport tattoos on their bodies are criminals.

This was the fodder of discussion yesterday in my family and friends’ chat groups after my sister Mary Anne, spotted a post criticizing DepEd for marginalizing people with tattoos as criminals.

In that post, the statement in Tagalog, asks students to fill in the blank with the correct answer from multiple choices given and in English it goes like this: The tattoo is a symbol of _. Choices are: A – being a criminal; B – slavery; C – bravery and beauty; and D – a member of the low class in society.

And for DepEd, the correct answer is A, thereby generalizing that those who have tattoos on their bodies must be criminals.

It was a source of laughter in our family group chat because we have several kids who were fond of tattoos. My niece, Mutya, is a doctor and has the most tattoos on her body among our kids, several of which were courtesy of her former boyfriend who is a tattoo artist and the preferred artist of our kids and cousins.

Another nephew, Commie, also has plenty of tattoos on his arms and legs, bearing the faces of his children. He is not a criminal but happens to be a successful businessman who owns the fast food chain Zark’s burgers. He was in fact included among the Entrepreneur of the Year search by Business World last year and has been featured many times in national publications and TV networks.

I do not sport a tattoo but always wanted one if not for my fear of needles. But both my sons have, too much for my liking honestly, and they are far from being criminals.

The first time I saw my son, Julio’s tattoo covering half his back actually scandalized me. But what can you do? Offer to pay for laser removal of it all? Ugh! Of course, younger brother, Giancarlo also got ideas on his head and on a trip to Italy, he surprised me coming home with a tattoo that was paid for by his half-brother which costs an arm and a leg compared to here. Since then, both were unstoppable in getting tattoos when they feel like it.

This is not the first time DepEd got criticized for the many errors in their learning modules. They may be few and far between, but if this is the kind of mentality our educators have, then woe to our school children who will be fed with these ideas.

Just recently, DepEd had to apologize to Angel Locsin for body-shaming the actress.

“Angel Locsin is an obese person. She, together with Coco Martin eats fatty and sweet food in Mang Inasal fast food restaurant most of the time. In her house she is always watching television and does not have any physical activities,” the module showed.

When the post went viral, DepEd did apologize to Angel but took offense when the letter also made an appeal to the public to “spare him (the author of that module) from any ad hominem attacks as this single mistake will not define him as a person.”

To wit, Angel retorted on Twitter that she doesn’t mind the insults and cheap comments do not define who she is.

“I intended to ignore this issue, but what bothers me most is apart from teaching incorrect grammar to the students, DepEd seems unaffected that the said teacher is teaching bad conduct and sowing discrimination among the children. Anong mangyayare sa future kung ang mga kabataan ay tinuturuan ng pambabastos at pangungutya sa kapwa?” Angel posted.

DepEd said they confirmed 41 reported errors in their modules, 27 of which came from locally developed modules that cannot anymore be replaced as this has been distributed to the students. Furthermore, it said that the modules are only being used in limited areas and the erroneous modules could be those used in private schools.

A friend of mine who owns a pre-school actually said that they make their own modules as they cannot rely on those that DepEd endorses or makes.

A couple of years ago, the Inquirer also published a report on errors found in DepEd books which named the Banaue Rice Terraces into Banana Rice Tereces found in Ilocos Region and not in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

But one error that really cracked me up was asking the children to identify the picture of a duck and a rooster and the choices are “a big fat duck” and “a big fat cock.” Just imagine your child seeing a rooster in the fields and yelling, hey, there’s a big fat cock running around!

More recently, DepEd announced that they called on the help of at least 720 curriculum specialists from all regions to help in the conformance review of Modules. Ah, but isn’t that too late since they too said that these modules have already been distributed?

Back to the tattoo choices, Baciwa GM, Atty. Jules Carbon replied in our group chat, the correct answer should be C – for bravery and beauty. Because indeed, historically, body paints and designs were actually symbols of such and in fact, in some societies, this remains so.*

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