Five students barred by the school administration to attend the graduation rites

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – A Philippine court on Thursday ordered a Catholic girls’ school to allow five students to attend graduation ceremonies after they were barred over photos on Facebook that showed them wearing bikinis.

Judge Wilfredo Navarro of central Cebu City issued a restraining order against St. Theresa’s College High School, calling its decision to ban the students from Friday afternoon’s ceremonies un-Christian and unlawful.

School officials took action against the girls for what they called “engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts,” according to court records. They allowed the students to graduate, but not participate in activities or ceremonies.

The judge ordered the school to allow the girls to join the graduates’ procession. The school declined to comment, but asked the court to reconsider on Friday morning.

The girls’ lawyer, Cornelio Mercado, said a photo showed one girl holding a cigarette and a liquor bottle, while others showed all five girls wearing bikinis at a beach party early this year.

Earlier this month, the five girls were summoned by the principal and other school officials, “dressed down” and called “sluts” for their Facebook pictures, Mercado said.

Mercado alleged that the school officials had illegally obtained the pictures since they were not Facebook “friends” of the girls and were not allowed access.

The mother of one girl petitioned the court on behalf of her daughter. Mercado said the ruling applied to all five.

Judge Navarro castigated the school officials for calling the girls “inappropriate names,” including “disgusting,” “cheap” and “drunkards,” and said the students had gone through “a psychologically and emotionally devastating experience.” He said not allowing them to participate in graduation activities “would indeed be most un-Christian if not entirely inhuman.”

Mercado, the lawyer, said the families will file charges of child abuse and “grave oral defamation” against the school and school officials.

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My personal view is that the school is too harsh of punishing the students just because they posted in swimming suit that the nuns of the Saint Theresa’s College considered as ‘lewd’. I think the privacy of the five students were infringed by a person who scan that photo on Facebook then told it to nuns of the Saint Theresa’s College. They deprive the right of these five students to attend the graduation rites just because of that wearing bikini swimming suits that the nuns considered as ‘lewd’. I really irritate people who preaches to others to abide the moral views of theirs and yet they didn’t practice what they preaches.

The lesson is that morality is a personal matter and anyone of us should not dictate other people just to achieve what moral standards we want.