Court halts student grad ban over Facebook bikini photos

Summary:Wear a bikini at a beach party -- forget graduation.

A Philippine-based court, Cebu, ordered a Catholic girls' school to allow five students to attend graduation ceremonies on Thursday, after they were barred over photos on Facebook that showed them wearing bikinis.

Clearing the way for the students to attend their graduation rites, the court ruled that the school had no right to prevent their attendance due to the uploaded Facebook images.

A 16 year-old student at the Catholic St. Theresa's College -- her identity undisclosed as a minor -- landed herself in hot water with school officials after posting photos of herself wearing a bikini, as well as holding a cigarette and liquor bottle on the popular social networking site.

Officials at St. Theresa's College saw this behavior as contrary to the school's teachings, and therefore barred her from attending graduation. The student could still graduate, but would not be allowed to attend the ceremony.

According to court records, action was taken against the girls for "engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts".

The subsequent lawsuit was filed by the girl's mother to have the school's ruling overturned. Four other girls also faced the wrath of the Catholic school after being photographed in bikinis at the same beach party.

In court, the student was cited for violating rules in the school's student handbook, including "posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure".

Judge Wilfredo Navarro of Cebu City issued a temporary restraining order against the school, labeling its actions as 'unlawful' and 'unchristian'. The college was also ordered to treat the student "with kindness and civility befitting true graduates".

Navarro also took into account the reportedly unprofessional and unacceptable behavior of school officials to the girls, who allegedly called them 'inappropriate names' -- including 'disgusting', 'cheap', and 'drunkards'.

School officials have not chosen to comment, but did request the court to reconsider its verdict.

According to reports, the families of the girls will be filing charges of child abuse and 'grave oral defamation' against the school and its representatives.

Image credit: Jacrews

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About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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