(updated) High school students suspended over blog

image from vwt.d2g.com

whoever said that high school is the mouse race to prepare you for the rat race was right on the mark with this one: Quezon City Science HS students suspended over critical blog.

in reaction, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines had this to say.

below is an open letter written by my brother, a QCSHS alumnus who is now based in London:

Open letter to fellow high school students of Quesci and alumni:

I am utterly enraged over the news that four students of my beloved Alma Mater, Quezon City Science High School, would be suspended because they blogged against the school administration and the current principal, Dr. Zenaida Panti Sadsad.

I went to check for myself the contents of the blog and there were edited images of Dr. Sadsad depicted as a dictator, stories of questionable policies, and seemingly endless threads of comments all critical to the principal, some members of the teaching staff, and the school administration as a whole.

I am aghast by the punitive and vindictive measures taken by Dr. Sadsad and her cohorts to suspend the four students. I am also incensed that the school’s publications The Electron and The Banyuhay have also been padlocked.

Going by how Dr. Sadsad confronted the issues raised by the students’ blog, it is obvious that her administration has not been giving the QCSHS students any meaningful venue where they can air their disgust and legitimate demands. The horrendous, illegal message is: “You complain, you get suspended.”

This is an outrage. This is a terrible violation of students’ constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. This is a bad manner of mitigating disputes. This is not discipline but repression. From the looks of it, the students were meted with a rather heavy penalty but without due process.

It is in this light that I urge my fellow QCSHS alumni, parents and students of current students to press that the 10-day suspended be rescinded.

Moreover, let us urge the Quezon City government and the Department of Education to instead investigate the misadministration of Dr. Sadsad. For naked abuse of power alone, it is Dr. Sadsad who should be suspended or thrown out of the school.

Respectfully,

Rafael Joseph Maramag

Alumnus

Quezon City Science High School

(update, january 19, 2009: as of press time, the DepEd has ordered the lifting of the students’ suspension.

the Commission on Human Rights, meanwhile, said that the suspension may violate rights and is urging the students’ parents to file an official complaint against the QCSHS administration.

other high school students staged a support picket in front of the QCSHS administration early this morning, urging students to exercise their right to freely air grievances against repressive and anomalous school policies.

and, the open letter published above has transformed into an online petition being circulated amongst QCSHS alumni. view updated list of signatories here and here.)

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