Moral policing is at an all-time high and this incident is proof of the same. A school in Thiruvananthapuram recently suspended two Class 12 students – a boy and a girl – for hugging each other. According to the boy, he was merely congratulating her for her impressive singing at the Arts festival. What’s probably even more disappointing is that the Kerela HC upheld this decision. Justice Shaji P Chaly rejected the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ order that requested the St Thomas Central School to withdraw the suspension.
Comyan – Representational Image
After this, the school management, Mar Thoma Church, appealed to the high court against the state commission’s order. In its verdict, the high court claimed that the commission can only recommend the government to provide relief to a child victim.
According to the court, the commission cannot interfere with what the school’s principal had already decided. She took the following action to maintain discipline and morality in the school.
The boy and the girl hugged each other in front of fellow students during an arts festival. Both the students apologised to the vice-principal. Though later, the photographs started making rounds on Instagram and that’s when the school suspended the two students.
Justice Chaly said, “I find that various photographs were posted on Instagram in various compromising positions, and if it had the effect of publicity, the issue hampers the reputation of the school.” The court even dismissed the boy’s argument that his Instagram was private and that the school authorities had hacked into it, which is technically illegal.
BCCL – Representational Image
This incident has raised multiple questions. First of all, why is a simple act of ‘hugging’ so scandalous that students had to be suspended over it? This, considering neither of them was made to feel uncomfortable by this act. Second, why is it okay for school authorities to go snooping into someone’s personal Instagram account?
There was nothing wrong with what they did. How do we expect to educate our youth about more sensitive issues like consent, sex and good/bad touch when the simple act of hugging is considered almost criminal?
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