Boys' diplomas withheld for Facebook kissing photos

Six boys in the Philippines post Facebook photos that appear to show them kissing while in school uniform. The school withholds their high school diplomas.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Have the world's schools caught up with this social-networking thing? Or even with this Web thing? Or even with this being a teenager thing?

These thoughts cross one's temple on hearing the news that a high school in the Philippines is withholding the diplomas of six boys -- ages 16 and 17 -- who allegedly posted pictures on Facebook that appeared to show them, well, snogging one another, as they say in some European parts.

According to the Inquirer, the boys may not have realized that everyone could see these photos. And, yes, scandal appears to have ensued at the Infant Jesus Academy in Marikina City.

The boys reportedly explained that this was mere simulation. They were not naughty kissers. They were merely using camera tricks to, well, amuse. The school was anything but. They were initially told they couldn't participate in graduation ceremonies or collect their vital diplomas.

The school has now eased on the former, but not on the latter, even though it seems to be largely a symbolic gesture and won't prevent the boys from enrolling in universities (the school will give them certification to do that).

This isn't the first end-of-year Facebook fumble that has occurred in the Philippines this week. For the Inquirer also reports on a girl at St. Theresa's College high school in Cebu City. She -- are you ready? -- posted a Facebook photo of herself in a bikini.

This, apparently, transgressed a school law that forbids "posing and uploading pictures on the Internet that entail ample body exposure."

Some might emphasize that different cultures have their own different sense of morals. Others might simply ask the question: "Ample for whom?"

In the girl's case, the family claimed that her Facebook page was private, so perhaps one of her "friends" snitched on the girl who wore barely a stitch.

In the case of the kissing boys, the school is relying on a rather naked rule that bars "any conduct inside or outside the campus which brings the student, his/her family, and the school in disrepute."

Disrepute according to whom, some might wonder.

It's not that the United States is immune from schools that have little appreciation for the nuances of social networking, or indeed, teenage life.

Just the other day, a high school in Indiana expelled a student for tweeting: ""F*** is one of those F****** words you can F****** put anywhere in a F****** sentence and it still F****** makes sense."

I do worry about adults sometimes.

 

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