Is it right for Pisay to let sex offenders graduate?

Earlier this week, a number of male students from Philippine Science High School leaked their female classmates’ nudes online. The school’s management committee recommended removing them from the graduation roll. But the Board of Trustees (BOT), decided to revoke the recommendation, they will still graduate as if nothing happened.

14 male students were guilty of committing offenses against the Student Code of Conduct. Their offenses ranged from level two to level three. Out of the 14, two students were dismissed, since they they didn’t leak the photos. Six level three offenders were taken out of the graduation roll.

The BOT allowed the remaining six of the 14 violators to graduate alongside their victims.

In their batch council’s official statement, it’s clear they violated the student code of conduct due to multiple counts of “voyeurism which [included] the posting of indecent or lewd photos or videos on the internet.” These 14 boys posted nude photos of underage women, violated their classmates’ trust, and committed sexual harassment. According to the batch council, it makes them ineligible for graduation.

Read more: Boys can’t be boys forever: notes on misogyny and sexism

Everyone seems to be aware these acts shouldn’t be tolerated. So, why is the BOT protecting these boys?

This decision drove students, teachers, and parents to protest last May 23. Without protesting, the board might not even bother changing their mind. “The case is now up for consideration,” Sen. Bam Aquino’s tweeted. “At this time, no final resolution is yet reached but will do so before graduation,” PSHS executive director Lilia Habacon told Rappler.

Congressmen, senators, and powerful government figures are members of the BOT. Why are leaders and decision makers ones tolerating behavior like this? Whatever their verdict may be, their first decision to let six of the 13 march already says a lot.

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“It is a manifestation of the rampant silencing of victims of sexual harassment and cybercrime done in order to protect the reputation and good name of those who have wronged them,” their Student Council stated.

The BOT’s decision protects the violators’ reputation, but who will protect the young women these boys traumatized?

If you’re wondering why rape culture is still so prevalent, incidents like these only make it clear that people in power refuse to side with victims. To make the moral and ethical choice to penalize the culpable party. The BOT might take a while to make a decision. But if you’re tired of stories like this—here’s how you can help.

You can sign this petition created by Pisay students. Also, feel free to reach out to the Board of Trustees. Let them hear your concerns. Let them know enough is enough.

Chairman of the Board (Ex-Officio)
Sec. Fortunato de la Pena
Phone: 837-2071 to 82 local 2000, 2003, 2500
Email: ftdp@dost.gov.ph

Vice-Chairman (Ex-Officio)
Sec. Leonor M. Briones
Phone: 633-7208, 633-7228, and 687-2922

Ex-Officio Members:

Sen. Bam Aquino  
Phone:  (632) 552-6747
Email: team.bamaquino@senado.ph
Twitter: @bamaquino

Cong. Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado
Phone: 931-5001

Art by Chaiseng

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Rogin Losa
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