The high school activist group “Bad Student” is urging pupils around the country to stop wearing their school uniforms. The Bad Student group says pupils should wear their normal clothing when the new term starts on Tuesday.
The group posted the suggestion on its Twitter account on Friday, saying: “Finally, we can discard the obsolete uniforms and have the freedom to wear personal clothes. To all students, throw away those uniforms on Dec 1 and dress the way you prefer to go to school — #saygoodbyetouniforms.”
Another activist group, Pakee Students KKC, made the same plea on its Facebook page on Friday.
“We would like to invite all students to wear your preferred outfits to school,” the group said.
“This is meant to question whether school uniforms are that important. Will teachers not allow us to attend class just because we don’t wear uniforms?
“Why go to school if the principals and teachers are more interested in uniforms than schooling?
“If students cannot afford to buy uniforms, does this mean having no rights to attend class?
“Let’s try and see if wearing outfits of our choice can reduce inequality. If there are ten students wearing their preferred clothes, they may be punished. But if all students at a school do so, just imagine the changes this will bring.”
Commenting on the issue Amporn Pinasa, secretary-general of the Office of Basic Education Commission, said that students must realize that they may breach school regulations if they do not wear the correct uniforms at school.
Each school has rules for students to follow, she said, adding that in society everyone cannot get everything they want. Rules and regulations are necessary to ensure people can live together in harmony, Ms Amporn said.
“Wearing school uniforms will not have any direct impact on learning but it has its merits. Actually, wearing uniforms do help reduce inequality,” she added.
“If students wear their preferred personal clothes, it will lead to some students wanting to get the same expensive clothes as their more affluent friends, even though their parents are not as well off.”
“Bad Student” activists gather in Bangkok
Last Saturday young “Bad Student” activists gathered beneath the Siam BTS skytrain station, a day after it was revealed that two of their teenage leaders were facing charges for taking part in protests.
The anti-government demonstrators sheltered under the skytrain platform in front of the Siam Paragon shopping center after rain forced them to change the rally venue from the nearby Ratchaprasong intersection.
Police confirmed that organisers of the rally had informed them about their activity, which was given permission to go ahead. It was expected to end around 9pm.
As the day went on, the crowd of a few hundred grew to a few thousand, who settled in as a rally stage was set up for the evening’s entertainment and speeches.
“#Bye bye dinosaurs” was the theme of the event that was publicised on the Bad Student Facebook page.
“If parliament cast in the role of ‘dinosaur’ rejects and refuses changes, students like us will be the meteorite that collides with the backwardness of senior figures in society,” another message read. “As our calls for educational reforms are being ignored, see us at the Ratchaprasong intersection on Nov 21. Students will talk about all the things the dinosaurs don’t want to hear!”
Students call establishment dinosaurs
In keeping with the theme, participants dressed in dinosaur costumes were being pelted by inflatable meteorites launched at them from the crowd. But amid all the good-natured fun, there was a serious side to the participants’ presence.
“We are here to ask for the freedom that has been taken away from us as well as for reforms to education,” said high school student Mameaw, 18, who declined to give her full name. “We want a real constitutional monarchy.”
The protests that have been staged since July have three core demands: the removal of former Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a new constitution and reforms to the monarchy.
But the high school students also seek greater freedom and fairer treatment within an education system that they say is archaic and aimed primarily at enforcing obedience. Many spoke of the importance of gender equality as well.
“I have been sexually abused by teachers. School is not a safe place,” said a placard held by one student who sat in uniform with her mouth taped shut in protest.
The Bad Student group has staged a number of protests, including two at the Education Ministry where they demanded the resignation of the minister, Nataphol Teepsuwan.
Volunteers from Amnesty International were seen handing out colour-coded wristbands to the student protesters on Saturday so that authorities can distinguish minors from adults in case police are planning any arrests.
Police confirmed on Friday that they would summon two teenaged leaders of the Bad Student group to answer charges of violating an emergency decree by taking part in an anti-government rally on Oct 15.
The summonses issued on Tuesday called on Benjamaporn “Ploy” Nivas, 15, and Lopnaphat “Min” Wangsit, 17, to report to Lumpini police on Nov 30. A police spokesman said the two would be questioned in the presence of their parents and a lawyer. – Bangkok Post