MOE should ban draconian attire checks

Nanyang Girls' High School has spoken to its students and is monitoring the affected girls following the attire check.
Nanyang Girls' High School has spoken to its students and is monitoring the affected girls following the attire check.PHOTO: ST FILE

While it is understandable for schools to maintain a strict dress code for students' appearance, such as the colour of their shoes and hairstyles, to do a spot check on undergarments is humiliating and uncalled for (Nanyang Girls' High apologises after attire check made students 'feel uncomfortable'; Jan 29).

What are the Ministry of Education's (MOE) guidelines on modesty?

What the Nanyang Girls' High School (NYGH) teacher did appears to amount to outrage of modesty and sexual harassment. If nothing else, it seems to be a blatant intrusion on privacy.

It is not enough for the school and its principal to apologise, because such actions were unnecessary and caused embarrassment to students and their parents.

Parents have the right to protect their children's modesty.

What signal does it send when a teacher is allowed to unbutton students' uniforms and tug at their bra straps?

It is startling to learn that NYGH goes as far as to dictate what colour of undergarments students are allowed to wear. Such regulations seem over the top. Inspections of this sort should be conducted only when the school has reason to believe that its uniform policy has been broken, and even then should be done only in private.

Draconian attire checks such as those on students' undergarments undermine their self-esteem and may have lasting mental damage.

MOE should ban such archaic school regulations; there is a limit to enforcing discipline.

Cheng Choon Fei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'MOE should ban draconian attire checks'. Print Edition | Subscribe