RATCHABURI — A school in the western region became a subject of ridicule on Friday after it prohibited students from bringing roses to school on Valentine’s Day.
Citing the need for girl students to preserve their moral purity, Ratchaborikanukroh School issued an order banning students from bringing flowers or putting stickers on their uniforms on the day of love. The school remains silent as of publication time despite criticism from many netizens.
“Students are not allowed to buy flowers or other goods that are sold in front of the school. If any one violates this rule, they will be sent to the student affairs office,” the order said.
The school also warned students against public displays of affection, adding that there will be patrols outside school.
“Teachers are asked to inform students against inappropriate expressions on Valentine’s Day because girl students must preserve their modesty,” according to the order. “If any one gets caught by patrolling officials, they will face severe disciplinary actions.”
The strict rule drew much attention on social media after student rights group Education for Liberation of Siam posted the document on its social media platforms. The group’s secretariat general Laponpat Wangpaisit described the order as excessive and “missing the point.”
โรงเรียนชื่อดังจังหวัดราชบุรีเข้ม! ออกหนังสือเฝ้าระวังวันวาเลนไทน์— กลุ่มการศึกษาเพื่อความเป็นไท (@elsiamth) February 12, 2020
– คืนวันวาเลนไทน์จะมีเจ้าหน้าที่สอดส่อง หากพบนักเรียนในจุดเสี่ยงถือว่ามีความผิดร้ายแรงทันที#ELSiam pic.twitter.com/ZM7MBUL9Ud
“I see it as an infringement of student rights,” Laponpat said. “The school should teach students how to love rather than suppressing them. I have never been taught about love in school, that’s why many students made wrong decisions.”
Although it is not uncommon for Thai schools to impose Victorian-era virtues on students, such as forcing girls to cover up their knees and keeping hair tidy, Ratchaborikanukroh School’s explicit ban on roses was widely ridiculed online.
“Students or prisoners?,” user @ILILILILILTTT commented. “They should educate students how to have safe sex and respect the rights of others.”
Many also questioned why the school does not point fingers to male students.
“I’m concerned with the notion that girl students must preserve their modesty. Why don’t they teach boys to respect girls too?” user @amilykatze wrote.
But a number of netizens defended the school, saying that it is the right thing to to protect students from engaging in sexual activities.
“Teachers are doing this as they care about students. Society has already changed and Valentine’s Day has become the day of losing virginity,” Facebook user Tusak Surichay commented in a news thread.
Ratchaborikanukroh School is attended by about 3,500 students from Matthayom 1 to Matthayom 6.