High School students across Thailand on Tuesday, in a show of civil disobedience, protested against Thai school uniform regulations by going to school dressed however they want.
Led by student activist group Bad Students under the theme “เล็บกู ผมกู ร่างกายกู แต่ไปหนักหัวครู 1 ธันวาบอกลาเครื่องแบบ” (My nails, my hair, my body, but somehow my choices bother the teachers, say goodbye to uniforms on December 1st), students nationwide participated in the movement.
The students said that uniform regulations were part of a wider culture within the education system that engenders and promotes servility and inside-the-box thinking.
“We will repeat again that dressing freely to school is not a crime, and there are no laws that prohibit students from dressing however they want to schools,” the Bad Students group said.
“We beg the teachers to respect the law, and open space for kids to raise questions on the freedom of dressing up. Please do not try to block the wave of change, because you will drown and get buried in it.”
The activist group have hung banners under the slogan เล็บกู ผมกู ร่างกายกู แต่ไปหนักหัวครู throughout Bangkok’s major intersections, monuments, and downtown centers.
It is part of a larger movement by the students to force the Ministry of Education to liberalize both the education culture and the curriculum.
So far, the hashtag #1ธันวาบอกลาเครื่องแบบ (December 1, say goodbye to school uniforms) has been used more than 515k.
Students all over the country have used the hashtag to show themselves wearing private wear and documenting it on social media.
Thai schools across Thailand have responded to the protest in various ways following the announcement and Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday afternoon, a parent of a student at prominent Thai state school Horwang filed charges against the school director for prohibiting her son from entering the classroom because he was dressed casually, citing harassment. The Horwang School on Monday evening released a statement signed by the school’s executive director prohibiting students to dress casual in any way.
Meanwhile, Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School as well as Kemasirianusorn School officially announced that students are only allowed to dress according to uniform regulations.
A student from Bodindecha School, on Tuesday afternoon, said he was detained for a total of three hours before being allowed to enter his classroom in his casual wear.
Students and netizens following Tuesday morning have also posted responses from various schools throughout the country. One Twitter video, which has now gone viral, captures female high school students chanting “free our friends!” as their friends were being detained for not wearing school uniforms.
Meanwhile, Samsen Wittayalai School — one of Thailand’s most selective schools — have responded positively to the protest. Students posted photos and stories of how the school staff and director have stood in front of the gates to welcome students in casual wear to freely enter and learn inside their classrooms.