A teenager in the Philippines has been banned from attending her graduation because of a photo posted to her Facebook profile.
The photo shows the Catholic school student wearing a bikini and holding a cigarette and liquor bottle. Her family has complained against the penalty bestowed by St. Theresa’s College High School (STC) in central Cebu City, with a judge expected to rule on the complaint before Friday’s graduation.
The photo violated numerous policies in the school’s student handbook related to immorality, specifically “posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure,” and smoking and drinking. The teen’s lawyer said the photo was taken during a family outing, according to the Associated Press.
The 16-year-old will still be allowed to graduate as she has met all academic requirements. As things stand, however, she will not be celebrating with her classmates at the graduation ceremony.
Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro ordered the school to show him a copy of the photos, along with a copy of the student handbook, reports Cebu Daily News.
In a hearing, the judge reportedly said, “I will have my own standards on whether or not it is lewd.”
The petition said the teen had the right to attend the graduation since she had met all the academic requisites. Furthermore, her lawyer, Enrique Lacerna, said her Facebook profile was set to friends only, so the school obtained information that was “not for public consumption.”
Lacerna his client had essentially been “bullied” and that the ban had caused her “trauma.”
The school’s lawyer, Romeo Balili, said STC had no choice in the matter.
“STC is a Catholic school governed by the teachings of the Catholic Church. We have to see to it that values are formed,” “We are not happy with the penalty but we are forced to impose it because we have to form the values of children.”
Photo by jameskm03