Boy out of JC after kissing prank

It was meant to be a prank.

But the school found the students' actions no laughing matter.

Following the incident, one student had to withdraw from the school and at least two others were suspended.

Last Wednesday, two junior college boys kissed each other on the lips on a dare by a fellow schoolmate.

Andy (not his real name), 18, had promised to shave his head bald if the two boys took up his challenge.

The kiss took place in the college canteen and was witnessed by many students, The New Paper (TNP) was told yesterday.

Andy filmed the act on his mobile phone while several others took pictures.

By last Friday, Andy was no longer a student at the college.

The Ministry of Education spokesman said that expulsion is only done as a last resort. (See report on facing page).

The two students who kissed each other were handed suspensions.

The college's principal said the students' parents are "supportive of the follow-up actions taken by the college".

A post on the incident surfaced on an online forum last week. Netizens who commented on the post felt Andy should not have been expelled.

Wrote one: "In my opinion there wasn't any real need to expel the boy and I feel so wronged for the boy.

"You want to expel people who have pictures of themselves making out? Go ahead, and do it to ALL of them, and not only selectively."

Another added that the punishments were "unjust and draconian".

But some students felt what their schoolmates did was "dumb" and "silly".

Those who saw the incident told TNP that the two boys exchanged a peck on the lips.

A male student, who declined to be named, said: "It was a joke, it was meant to be funny. The boys are not homosexuals."

It was over in seconds, he said.

But in those few moments, several pictures and a video had been taken.

The students said around five boys were involved in the initiation of the dare and calling attention to it, while at least 20 others were onlookers.

Said one of the students involved, who also requested anonymity: "The dare turned out to be a stupid suggestion as things went downhill from there."

Hauled up

That same day, all those involved were hauled up to the principal's office and were told to delete the pictures.

Andy was also given a letter for his parents to sign. The letter was to acknowledge that the parents were withdrawing him from the school.

When contacted, the principal said Andy had a series of disciplinary records, including persistent late-coming, poor learning attitude, defiance and repeated non-compliance of school rules.

She said: "The college had given him warnings and tried to help him to improve his behaviour and attitude through counselling.

"Our teachers had also been engaging his father to discuss how the college and the family could support and guide the student."

When TNP contacted Andy, he claimed that he deleted the video hours after the incident and that he neither uploaded it online nor circulated it.

"I only showed it to one or two people on my phone," he said.

And he got his father to sign the letter.

"I was scared, so I lied to my parents about wanting to leave the school and my father signed the letter," he said.

"That was a mistake on my part. I should have told them the truth."

By the time his parents found out the truth last Thursday, it was too late.

The principal said: "The (student's) decision to withdraw from the college stems from the father's understanding that his son had committed numerous offences over the past year.

"In view of the student's refusal to cooperate, his father has thus agreed to withdraw him from the college."

TNP understands that Andy is trying to appeal, with the help of his family members, to be re-admitted by the school.

He told TNP that he "really regrets" what he did.

"I was retained at the end of last year, so I had wanted to turn over a new leaf and do well this year. But this is really a bombshell.

"I really want to go back to school and I hope the school will give me one more chance," he said.

Andy said he had written an apology to the principal after the kissing incident to show his sincerity in turning over a new leaf.

He is ready to hand it to her, if only she would see him, he said.

"I'm sorry. Sorry for betraying my principal's trust, sorry for all the times she gave me chances which I did not appreciate," he added.

Other students involved in the incident empathised with Andy's situation.

Said one: "It was supposed to be a small prank. We made the wrong decision.

"This incident taught me the meaning of the freedom of choice and the consequences of that on myself, my family and my future."

The principal said the college's approach towards management of student disciplinary offences focuses on enabling the student to "realise mistakes made, to understand and accept the logical consequences for their mistakes, to provide the necessary support and guidance for the students to learn from their mistakes, and to provide opportunities for them to change for the better".

This article was first published in The New Paper.