JANUARY 16, 2009
(STAR) By Rainier Allan Ronda - Officials of the Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS) recently suspended four students who allegedly posted a blog that criticized the school’s principal.

Aside from suspending the four students whose identities were withheld, QCSHS’s principal Zenaida Sadsad also ordered the closure of the school’s two student publications, Electron and Banyuhay.

The concerned blog, that was posted on social networking site, contains articles and photographs against Sadsad’s policies and person as well as the students’ gripes over irregular lunch hours and required subjects, among others.

The personal attacks against Sadsad in the blog even included violent declarations such as “Sadsad must die.”

The student newspapers’ faculty adviser Rex San Diego was sacked from his position by the QCSHS administration.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) denounced the suspension.

Vijae Alquisola, CEGP president, said the school administration’s action is proof of the repression of campus freedom and the freedom of speech of the student journalists.

“It is disturbing to learn that high school students, in their very young age, are being subjected to this kind of campus repression, their right to freedom of speech and expression undermined,” said Alquisola.

“The students’ complaints are valid and legitimate, and their putting up the blog is merely a venue to air their demands and democratic rights. Was the QCSHS administration so threatened by a bunch of high school kids that it resorted to the outright violation of their rights? In these times, young people should be encouraged to voice out their views, not sanctioned and censured into silence,” Alquisola said.

Alquisola said that the Department of Education (DepEd) should intervene in the “overkill” disciplinary action meted by the school against the suspended students.

“While the DepEd issued a statement addressing school faculty and administrations not to be ‘onion-skinned’ to criticisms, it falls short of acting on the injustice done to the students,” Alquisola said.

DepEd said the department is already looking into the matter, especially after one of the suspended students went to the agency to seek help last Tuesday.

Kenneth Tirado, DepEd communications officer, said Education Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Franklin Sunga is conducting an inquiry.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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