Director of a school in the eastern region on Wednesday defended his decision to ban schoolgirls from wearing fringes, despite protests from students and education campaigners.
Although ministerial regulations allow female pupils to wear bangs, Sunreng Srisitthichaisakul, director of Siyanusorn School, said he took the step beyond government policies out of his concern that students may style their hair after K-pop stars.
“This rule has been enforced for many years already,” Sunreng said. “However, there’s a trend among teenage girls who want to style their hair after a popular K-pop star, so we passed out agreements to prevent students from violating school rules.”
The strict rule drew much attention on social media after student rights group Education for Liberation of Siam posted the school’s order banning bangs on its Facebook page. The group called it excessive and “unreasonable.”
In the document reportedly handed to students who broke the ban, they were required to confess to the wrongdoing and promise to fix their hairstyles. They were also required to accept any consequences “without any conditions” should they repeat the same offense.
Both the students and their parents were required to sign the agreement at school, the advocate group said. Failure to sign the paper after three summon letters would result in the students being expelled, according to the group.
Although it is not uncommon for teachers to enforce school dress codes and haircuts – often in a rough and summarily manner – Siyanusorn School’s threat of expulsion for a petty offense caused much discussion on social media.
“This is bullshit. They should spend time teaching the students rather than picking on them,” user Aoi Thompson commented on Facebook. “That’s why Thai students fall behind other nations. This is a violation of their rights”.
Another user pulled out the hairstyle regulation enacted by the Ministry of Education and noted that it doesn’t ban bangs.
“Read it, for those who believe the school is right,” Achita Yoriya wrote.
Under the official regulation, boys’ hair must be no longer than their hairline and girls’ must keep it no longer than the nape. Schools also have the leeway to allow longer hair, but it must be tied up properly.
However, many public schools choose to ignore the policy and enact their own rules, as in the case of Siyanusorn School.
Despite claims made by the campaigners, director Sunreng said his school would not go as far as expelling students for hair offense.
“There must have been some misunderstanding. We never expel students because of bangs,” the director said. “The penalty for this would be deduction of merit points.”
A number of netizens also sided with the school, saying that the practice can teach students to abide by law and order when they grow up.
“There are rules in every organization and these rules are based on the organization’s culture. If you want to be part of an organization, you should be ready to obey their rules,” Mon Plimkamon wrote. “This is Thai culture, so you should accept it. If everyone breaks the rules, how can we live peacefully?”
Siyanusorn School is attended by about 4,000 students from Matthayom 1 to Matthayom 6.