MANILA - Current and former students of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) mounted an in-campus protest Thursday, urging the Board of Trustees to bar from graduation 6 students who allegedly uploaded nude photos of their batchmates online.
School officials, students and parent teachers associations earlier agreed not to allow 6 male students to graduate after they allegedly uploaded nude photos of their underaged ex-girlfriends -also PSHS scholars - online 2 years ago, the PSHS Management Committee said in a statement.
The dissemination of lewd photos only came to light earlier this year.
Under the school’s code of conduct, students who engage in any form of voyeurism, including the posting of lewd photos and videos, shall not be eligible for graduation.
The school’s Board of Trustees, however, overturned the initial decision against the 6 students and included their names in the roster of graduates despite protests from the student body and alumni association, the Management Committee said.
Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, whose daughter was studying as PSHS, said the 6 students involved were even “gloating” after the board decided to let them graduate.
“These boys have shown no remorse—and are, in fact, defiant and arrogant. (How can they not be when no one’s held them fully accountable?),” she said in a Facebook post.
“When the unfortunate decision of the Board of Trustees came out that effectively exonerated them, they went around GLOATING. ‘I’m gonna graduate,’” she said.
By allowing the 6 students to march alongside their victims on graduation day, the PSHS “is rewarding them with a diploma from the country’s top science high school,” Badoy said.
The school’s current student council has asked the board of trustees to restore the original decision barring the boys from graduation.
“A disproportionate lenient punishment weakens the protections that prevent sexual harassment throughout the entire PSHS system,” the school’s Student Council said in a statement.
“This sets a regrettable precedent that allows perpetrators to continue harming more people without properly reflecting upon their actions,” the statement read.
The Executive Parent-Teacher Council’s statement called for the overturning of the board’s decision, saying allowing the 6 students to graduate would “assuage the wounded feelings, [and] besmirched reputation” of the victims who “continue to suffer because of the prurient minds of the perpetrators.”
“It cannot be overemphasized that the acts committed by these young sexual offenders are criminal in nature,” the EPTC’s statement read.
Outgoing Senate Committee on Science and Technology chair Bam Aquino - who is part of the PSHS Board of Trustees - said “the matter is now up for reconsideration.”
“My representative raised the issue with me and the matter is now up for reconsideration,” Aquino said in a tweet.
“We will vote in favor of the decision of the Discipline Committee and the Management Committee which is not to allow the identified students to graduate,” he said.