Philippine girls win reprieve over Facebook bikini pics

Two Catholic schoolgirls in the Phillipines faced a ban from their graduation over Facebook bikini pics. Photo / Thinkstock
Two Catholic schoolgirls in the Phillipines faced a ban from their graduation over Facebook bikini pics. Photo / Thinkstock

A Philippine court has told a Catholic school to let two teenage girls attend their graduation ceremony after they were banned for posting pictures of themselves in bikinis on Facebook.

The 16-year-olds filed a law suit against the exclusive school in the central city of Cebu after it barred them from the graduation ceremony for breaking a school rule about Internet pictures that show "ample body exposure".

"The... minor students concerned received the shock of their lives when they were called by the high school principal... 'sluts', 'addicts', 'drunkards' and 'cheap'," judge Wilfredo Navarro said in his written ruling.

Details of the girls' infringement of Saint Theresa's College's Internet policy was not referred to in the court ruling, describing it only as "some alleged indiscretion".

But newspaper reports said the girls posted on Facebook pictures of themselves in bikinis. Newspapers have not shown the photos, which cannot be accessed because the girls' accounts are on a private setting.

Judge Navarro said stopping the pair from going to their graduation ceremony on Friday as punishment was "un-Christian" and possibly illegal.

He also criticised the school for failing to give the girls a proper hearing before they were sanctioned.

Navarro said the complainants both had the legal status of children and were protected from verbal abuse that he said may affect them psychologically and emotionally for the rest of their lives.

"And to do this to them would indeed be most un-Christian if not entirely inhuman," he said.

School officials could not be reached for comment. But the school said during a court hearing earlier in the week that due process was observed before the punishment was handed out.

- AFP

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