Changes proposed to dress codes, haircuts and gender identity for Thai students

The ‘Bad Student’ campaign and its withering attacks on the Thai education minister appear to have hit their mark.

The Education Ministry has now announced amended regulations that cover dress codes and haircuts for students after a 4 month campaign. The Bad Student protests have been under-reported due to the larger protest movements, but have seen hundreds of students conducting rallies at schools around the country and displaying the 3 finger salute during compulsory morning assemblies and the raising of the Thai flag.

But no date has been announced when the revised guidelines will come into effect.

Students had also been protesting about alleged harassment from teachers when their views were ‘different’ from Thai traditional views and said that the previous dress codes were an infringement of their human rights.

Regarding the issue of gender identity, the committee of the Thailand Development Research Institute said that the current regulations “afforded schools sufficient flexibility to allow this but a greater emphasis would now be placed on participation”.

Schools will still be able to apply their own additions to the basic codes but the committee says the changes “must be approved by school committees, students, teachers and parents”.

President of the Thailand Development Research Institute, Somkiat Tangkitvanich, has announced 3 key amendments to the guidelines on student behaviour and dress standards.

• The prologue to the guidelines would be corrected to embrace participation and reflect present trends, human rights, dignity and sexual diversity.

• The rules governing hairstyles would become gender-neutral, with long or short hairstyles permitted for all pupils. But hair dying, beards and moustaches remain prohibited.

• Schools will be allowed to draw up and implement their own guidelines in consultation with students, teachers and parents.

The guidelines also said that punishments for any violation of the rules must not breach students’ human rights, especially if they could be regarded as acts of violence.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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