BANGKOK — Students at a conservative girls’ school have continued to wear white ribbons to school on Monday, even after the administration banned all forms of political expression on campus.
A group of former students also submitted an open letter, signed by 999 alumnae, to protest the ban.
“As a group of alumni, we want to express our concern for current students and want the school to be a safe space for students to express their opinions,” the letter said. “We are confident the school will open their hearts to student’s views, just as the students have always listened to and abided by the school’s rules.”
The privately owned Rajini School announced Friday that any political activities by students would be punished. It also said parents unhappy with the measure should feel free to withdraw their kids from school.
“Queen Saovabha Phongsri founded this school in 1904 so that thai ladies would have the opportunity to be educated,” the statement went on. “Today, the curriculum is firm in the teachings of the nation, religions, and monarchy as mandated by the Constitution. The school has never been used for political means and does not allow any individual or group to use the space.”
Throughout the past week, students in many schools across the country held up three fingers on campus and tied white ribbons in solidarity with the ongoing protest against the government.
The announcement, signed by school director Ruangsri Singhadech, also said that political students were “creating fear among other students and parents, but most importantly crossing the line to touch the monarchy, using the school’s name for defamatory reasons, and making society at large think our school supports the lack of a monarchy.”
On Friday, video footage shows students ripping the announcement and tossing it off the balcony to the applause of other students. Other videos showed the announcement being burned.
Some netizens also posted photos online that contradict Rajini School’s claim that they have never used school grounds for political purposes.
In 2013, the school organized marches as part of the protests against then-PM Yingluck Shinawatra, and even sold protest paraphernalia. Underage students can be seen holding “Reform before Election” signs.