The St. Theresa’s College controversy is about an exclusive all-girls catholic school in Cebu City that disallowed five high school students from participating in their graduation ceremonies for allegedly violating the school’s handbook.
I would presume that, being an exclusive school for girls and a catholic institution founded by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM), the school’s handbook speaks more of the Christian values that a girl should possess and how to comport oneself as a Theresian, both in and outside of school. All these are hammered into the student’s head from the time they enter kindergarten until they graduate from college.
Now enter the five high school students whose antics, days before their slated graduation, caught the ire of the school principal, Sister Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe, which resulted to the unfortunate controversy.
What can you do if five young girls feeling in seventh heaven for having finished high school at last, and now poised to enter college, are frolicking in celebration with abandon?
Facebook enthusiasts that these girls are, they uploaded photos which were deemed as inappropriate and unbecoming of a Theresian by the school officials.
The pictures allegedly showed the students posing in a bikini, doing what is deemed as ‘dirty dancing’, and drinking alcoholic beverage.
Why put malice on their skimpy swimsuits and their actions if they were around a swimming pool? What makes the whole thing indecent? Let them celebrate freedom for whatever it meant to them that very moment. Let them fool around. Let them pretend and role-play, after all there is no stopping the distinction that pretty soon each one of them will be called a woman.
Does that make them cheap in the eyes of people? Were they debasing the school? Were they corrupting their morals? Don’t they all come from respectable families? Do you think they were spoofing with the intention of shaming their parents? After all these years don’t the teachers, including Sister Celeste, know them well in school?
Instead of being prudent, Sister Celeste’s myopic view and prudishness went overboard, thus causing undue anxiety to the girls and their parents.
Is this enough reason to punish them by excluding them in the graduation rites?
This controversy has gone from bad to worst when STC defied the order of the court to allow the students, who were earlier barred from joining the graduation rites, to take part in the high school commencement exercises of the school.
Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) directing the school to cease and desist from enforcing the penalties on the graduating students.
What I am simply saying is this: Does the controversy had to go this far where parents are bringing the school authorities to court for their unjust and ill-considered decision?
After having built up a solid attachment between the school and parents, how could it be possible that for one frivolous mistake the school authorities led by Sister Celeste could just brush aside the loving respect and affection that one has for the other?
If, indeed, Sister Celeste saw some irregularities in the action/behavior of the students, as reflected in the FB, could she just not have called the parents involved for a meeting and bring up with them the issue of deviancy committed by their daughters as far as the school is concern?
Isn’t having an understanding and agreement – a meeting of minds – about what is right and wrong, what has been obeyed and violated regarding school precepts, the appropriate and the most Christian way of coming to terms and resolving the issue?
Isn’t reminding the young students about rectitude of conduct taught by the school and counseling them of their folly and forgiving them afterwards a Christian teaching?
Why then make a subjective decision brought about by whimsical anger and false perception which only brings nothing but discord in the community?
Why make a mountain out of a molehill?