By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
We join in sighing with relief, the family of a student in Cebu City who was convicted and excluded from the graduation ceremonies by a pack of religious educators, ironically.
This morning (March 30), the early TV news flashed a report that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ordered the school run by Catholic nuns to let the girl graduate and join the graduation rites.
We don’t know the merits of the case. What we have are so far sketchy data based on published reports. First off, the high school senior’s trouble began when the nuns discovered photos of her in bikini posted in her social network account.
There was nothing wrong in those pictures except that in some, she was wearing two-piece swimming attire. The shots were taken in a wholesome family excursion in a beach where people were expected to swim and so, wear swimming gear, that is, the conventional bathing suit and two-piece or bikini for girls, and a trunk for boys.
The family was not offended by her photos, presumably because none bothered to raise an outcry on them.
But the nuns were offended. The pictures of the minor in bikini offended their religious fervor, better still, their sanctimonious morality (or sense of right or wrong) that their only solution is to exorcise the evil. Wearing bikini and posting them in cyberspace is indecent, evil, immoral, mortal sin and what-not, and therefore deserving of punishment in hell. It is scandalous and the only way out is to kick out the girl and obliterate her memory in the hallowed hall of the institution.
The girl is a minor and may be in need of counseling but the least she deserves is to be kicked out of school or locked out from the graduation ceremonies which to many young people and adults happen once in a lifetime and therefore, must be cherished.
Her counsel on TV said that the decision sanctioning her was handed down unilaterally, that is, in violation of due process that entitles one to be heard. She was supposed to air her side and argue her case, which the offended nuns denied her.
In this modern age, knowledge, enlightenment and access to information has been democratized. It is no longer the monopoly of the elite of the Dark Ages – a very tiny class called “clerics”, so-called, because of their ability to read and right. Public education and the spread of private learning institutions have enabled wider segments to gain access to knowledge and information.
That means, in that academic community, knowledge is not the monopoly of the owners, the nuns.
There is no guarantee that the knowledge deposited in the heads of students in institutions practicing the “banking” approach to learning, is the right one.
Memorizing and retaining information, building up or stocking up knowledge and developing the capacity for critical thinking are behavioral outcomes that many schools profess to give their students.
In the case of the lucky girl who posted her pictures in the social network, she was at odds with a group of religious whose sense of right and wrong reechoes the dark ages.
As a parent, I won’t enroll my son or daughter there because I don’t want my kid imbibe the replica of their stiff, stilted and sick sense of right and wrong.
These nuns are the type of creatures whose constricted sense of morality automatically prods them to shout themselves hoarse against the Reproductive Health Bill, calling it like their ilk in their church hierarchy do, as “abortion bill” without daring to read the bill at all.
What they just did to the girl is a form of child abuse punishable under RA 7610. They abused her by convicting and punishing her without due process.
We cannot escape thdaily parody of learning institutions championing ignorance, apathy and subservience and our kids enrolling in them to perpetuate them.
What’s wrong in wearing bikini in beaches and swimming pools? What’s wrong in uploading in the social media pictures of bikini-clad girls having fun with their family in beaches?
These are questions that our holy nuns simply brushed aside without thorough thinking. Reminds us of a toddler squirming whenever told to take its medicine.
Let her graduate.