Double standard at STC
This is a reaction to lawyer Romulo Macalintal’s letter defending the right of schools to impose their disciplinary policies on misbehaving students. (Inquirer, 4/18/12) There’s no question that, as he said, “[o]n or off campus, students should protect (their) school’s name.” That’s a motherhood statement. He cited the 1982 case of a student who assaulted his teacher outside the school, which was an attack against a person in authority. It was a crime. No wonder the court found the boy guilty because he offended not only the school but society as well. Unfortunately, however, physically assaulting a teacher is hardly parallel to uploading on Facebook a picture of oneself in a bikini, no matter how erotic the pose is.
The more important issues that the noted lawyer missed are: Did St. Theresa’s College (STC) of Cebu City mete out a punishment in proportion to the offense of the bikini girl? If the girl fell below the moral standard of an exclusive school and thus embarrassed STC’s officials, would it not be more humane, civil—if not Christian—to let a young girl join her graduating batchmates but withhold her diploma until the controversy comes to a juridical conclusion? That’s exactly what another school chancellor decided to do—making no fuss, no noise. STC, on the other hand, was too quick on the draw: It barred the girl’s parents, including the sheriff who was armed with a temporary restraining order, from getting inside the school grounds like they were lost sheep grazing on forbidden garden. The punishment was meted out sadistically and arrogantly, causing a traumatic impact on the girl who was robbed of a milestone that will never come back to her young life.
I happen to be a retired teacher (of more than 40 years of experience), having served under various types of school administrations to know for sure that school disciplinary policies and rules are reviewed periodically—sometimes in consultation with parents and alumni—to assess whether they may have become stale or irrelevant; or need to adapt to the changing times. Normally, parents of offenders are invited to the office to be informed of the whys and wherefores of the offense and the punishment. Not in the case of STC where the parents reportedly sought an audience with the Sister-principal but were ignored.
If it’s true that STC is ever-protective of its reputation as an exclusive Catholic girls’ school, why is it then that a controversial celebrity mistress and a Miss Philippines Water in bikini are listed as among its outstanding alumnae? It seems the Sisters are practicing a double standard on morality.
Finally, the legal issue is the school’s defiance of a temporary restraining order. This interesting case is now in court. Will Macalintal volunteer to act as amicus curiae or counsel for STC Cebu?
—POMPEYO S. PEDROCHE,
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