CEBU CITY, Philippines — Classmates of the high school student who was barred by St. Theresa’s College (STC) from attending her graduation ceremony, due to what the school deemed as ‘lewd’ photos posted on her social networking page, have all agreed to support her.
For posing in a bikini and posting the photo on her Facebook account, a 16-year-old girl was not allowed to attend her high school graduation ceremony here on Friday.
The mother, however, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against St. Theresa’s College, seeking damages for not allowing her daughter to graduate just because of the photos posted on the social networking site.
The girl’s mother, a doctor, said her daughter “received the shock of her life” when the all-girls school imposed “a harsh sanction that she cannot join the commencement exercises.”
So What’s News is withholding the names of the mother and her daughter, a minor upon the request of their legal counsel.
During an impromptu meeting held in a restaurant near their school, the students plans to stage a protest during their graduation ceremony as a show of support to their beleaguered classmate. After various suggestions from other students, Madeline Rebusado, President of STC’s Student Council (STCSC) devised a scheme whereby all graduating students will wear skimpy bikinis beneath their toga and would flash the audience and school officials after receiving their diplomas.
“Its the least we could do to show our support for her,” said Rebusado. “Whether she be allowed to attend or not, we are pushing through with this.” The students are drawing courage on the belief that the school will not cancel the graduation ceremony if all of them shall wear their swimsuit underneath.
Interest in tomorrow’s ceremony has risen, primarily among males, upon knowledge of the said protest. STCSC plans to sell tickets to interested viewers where the proceeds of the sales will help the family pay for legal fees incurred after the lawsuit.
Saint Theresa’s College for its part, stands by their decision in spite of the legal action taken. They say that the student broke the rules when she posted on the Internet, pictures that show ‘ample body exposure’. The school also stated that its policies allegedly violated involve exposure online, immorality, drinking & smoking.
“Eh anong dapat suotin sa beach? Long sleeves at pantalon?! (What should we wear on the beach? Long sleeves and pants?!)” said a student who was asked of her thoughts regarding the sanction.
Another student chimed in saying, “Ang nakakatakot dyan eh paano nakita ng mga opisyal ang litrato nya sa Facebook kung ang profile ng estudyante ay naka-set sa private (What’s even scarier is how school officials were able to view her photos posted on Facebook when the student’s profile is set to private)!”
Students are alarmed by this development and suspects that there are hackers within the catholic school hierarchy looking at photos of their students, which are personal in nature and a direct invasion of their privacy. School officials refused to comment when asked to verify the rumors of a tech savvy nun hacking student’s social networking accounts. “That claim is baseless and we would not comment further,” said Sister Mary Clarence, an official of the school.
The Department of Education (DEPED) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has stepped in to investigate the matters concerning the academic and technological sides respectively.
[UPDATE 5:00PM 03-29-12]
A local court ordered Thursday officials of St. Theresa’s College (STC) to cease and desist from imposing the sanction on two students found violating the school’s policies for posting “lewd” photos on their Facebook accounts. (from Sun.Star Cebu)
To celebrate the ruling, the STCSC and the student in questiont will still push through with their protest. Proceeds from ticket sales shall now be used to buy an overpriced ice cream for every student. No word yet if the school will sabotage it’s own graduation ceremony to foil the plans of the students.