Thailand’s “Bad Student” activist group converged on the Education Ministry to protest the dress code and a ban on casual dress at schools. Around 4pm, students from various high schools in Bangkok began gathering at the area in front of the ministry to symbolically “return uniforms” in a demand for freedom of dress in schools.
A student activist addressing the rally called for students to be allowed to wear whatever they want to school, and above all not the complete scrapping of uniforms.
The gathering was lawful as the group had sought permission from the Metropolitan Police Bureau.
Students began hanging up their uniforms at the gate of the ministry. Some erected a multi-coloured cloth banner to reflect diversity.
Earlier on Tuesday, the group posted a call to action and a photo of the area in front of the Education Ministry on their “Bad Student’’ Facebook page. “We have called on you to alter regulations. You have refused, so we are rising in protest,” the message said. “Teachers and schools pay no respect to the law and have allegedly abused their authority and also slandered students.
Calls for freedom of dress
“At 4pm today, pack your uniforms in bags and get together in front of the Education Ministry!!! The post included the Thai hashtags #ม็อบ1 ธันวา (Mob Dec 1), #1 ธันวาบอกลาเครื่องแบบ (Dec 1 Say goodbye to uniforms), #หลังเลิกเรียนไปกระทรวง (After class, go to the ministry) and #นักเรียนเลว (BadStudent).
On Tuesday morning, some students also wore casual attire for the start of the new school term in response to protesters’ calls for freedom of dress.
Niphon Kongveha, assistant to the Office of the Basic Education Commission, represented ministry executives in hearing views from the student activist group. He said the ministry had not received any reports about schools’ barring students wearing casual attire from schools, Naewna Online reported.
“According to the latest update we have received, a total of 580 students across Thailand wore casual attire to schools today. All schools also allowed all students to attend classes without any attempts to obstruct them,’’ said Mr Niphon.