MANILA, Philippines—It was a joke that officials of a Catholic high school in Marikina City didn’t find funny.
About 600 kilometers from a Catholic learning institution in Cebu City where two graduating girls are embroiled in a “bikini photo” controversy, six senior high school boys from the Infant Jesus Academy in Marikina City might not be able to march on stage, too, and get their diplomas.
This after the teenage boys, still in school uniform, simulated a kiss in public on Monday and posted photos of their naughty prank on social networking site Facebook.
On Thursday, the boys accompanied by their parents went to Radyo Inquirer to seek the help of the AM station’s “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” program.
They said that as a punitive action, the school will not let them join Friday’s commencement exercises. And even as they will be officially recognized as graduates, they cannot take their diplomas yet, one of the parents told INQUIRER.net.
The parent also quoted Infant Jesus Academy chancellor Peter Mallonga as saying the school diploma is “sacred.”
“For them, the school diploma is sacred. They will give it to the students as the punishment will not be for life. But it will take two years, three years, four years, even eight years,” she claimed.
“The officials said they (boys) are not deserving as of the moment to receive their diplomas,” she quoted school officials as saying.
The boys, aged between 16 and 17, will be given certification by the school, however, to allow them to enrol in universities, even without their diplomas.
School officials said the students have violated a guideline of the institution, banning “any conduct inside or outside the campus which brings the student, his/her family and the school in disrepute.”
The photos, for the officials, were “damaging” to the reputation of the Catholic institution.
But one of the students said it was only a camera trick and done for fun’s sake.
“We tried to explain that those were just camera tricks, but they did not listen to us,” one of the students said.
In Cebu City, two graduating girls had broken a school rule at Saint Theresa’s College,which bans posting Internet pictures that show “ample body exposure”, and barred the student from their graduation ceremony.
The girl’s family on Tuesday filed a civil suit at a Cebu Regional Trial Court, which on Friday reprimanded the school for the harsh punishment and ordered the Catholic institution to let the girls take their diplomas on stage.
The Philippines is about 80-percent Catholic and the church is hugely influential, regularly campaigning against divorce and birth control. With AFP