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Controversy hounds Pisay graduation

School board criticized for allowing 14 students charged with voyeurism to receive their diplomas
05:16 AM May 24, 2019

Student leaders, concerned parents and teachers of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) main campus in Quezon City have protested the Board of Trustees’ (BOT) decision to allow 14 male students—who are accused of posting lewd photos of their female schoolmates online—to graduate on May 29.

In a case recently filed with the Student Discipline Office (SDO), the 14 boys were found to be in possession of “voyeuristic” images of PSHS female students which had been uploaded and shared online without the victims’ consent.

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From the SDO, the case was elevated to the school’s management committee, which recommended the male students’ removal from the graduation roll. The recommendation, however, was overturned by the BOT.

Board action

On Thursday, a member of the board, Sen. Bam Aquino, said the case was “now up for reconsideration.”

He made the comment on Twitter after the student council asked the BOT to rethink its stand on the matter.

The PSHS main campus’ Executive Parent Teacher Council also made a similar appeal.

“The recent decision of the BOT to reverse the findings of the PSHS Management Committee in connection with the voyeurism, sexual harassment, lewd acts, grave threats and possibly other criminal acts by a cabal, nay, a syndicate of students belonging to Batch 2019 is a travesty to [Pisay’s] core values, now seemingly mere empty rhetorics,” it said in a statement on Thursday. Students and alumni fondly refer to the school as Pisay.

The overturn of the BOT’s decision, it stressed, would “begin to assuage the wounded feelings, besmirched reputations [and] sleepless nights that the victims and their families suffered and continue to suffer because of the prurient minds of the perpetrators in their wanton disregard of women’s rights, privacy and attack on their youthful, chaste and innocent persons.”

Earlier, the school’s 2019 Batch Council said the SDO found the 14 male students accountable for violating the student code of conduct due to multiple counts of “voyeurism which [included] the posting of indecent or lewd photos or videos on the internet.”

“It is clearly stated in the PSHS Student Code of Conduct that a student’s scholarship may be terminated after committing two major offenses within a school year. Furthermore, the same actions may make them ineligible for graduation,” it added.

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Misrepresented

The student council criticized the BOT decision, saying it “[undermined] school rules” and “[misrepresented] the true sentiments” of the school community.

“Finally, it is a manifestation of the rampant silencing of victims of sexual harassment and cybercrime done in order to protect the reputation and good name of those who have wronged them,” it said.

The specialized public high school is operating as an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and Education Secretary Leonor Briones serve as ex-officio chair and vice chair of the school board, respectively.

Among its ex-officio members are Aquino, Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado, PSHS executive director Lila Habacon, Science Education Institute director Josette Biyo, University of the Philippines System president Danilo Concepcion and PSHS National Alumni Association president Honesto Franz Nuqui Jr.

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TAGS: DepEd, diplomas, Graduation, Philippine Science High School, Pisay, PSHS, voyeurism
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