A Lao middle-school student near the countryâ€™s capital Vientiane was removed from class in the middle of an exam on July 6 for sporting an improper hairstyle, sparking a public uproar and angering his mother, who said her son should have been allowed at least to finish his exam before being sent home.
â€œTo tell the truth, I donâ€™t even know what the standard hairstyle is that the school requires, or how short itâ€™s supposed to be,â€ the 11-year-old boyâ€™s mother told RFAâ€™s Lao Service in an exchange of messages on Facebook.
â€œBut if his hairstyle violated school rules, he should have been warned first and allowed to finish his exam, instead of being kicked out of the classroom in the middle of the exam with his work almost finished,â€ she said.
Writing on social media, where his motherâ€™s post about the expulsion was shared by thousands, parents of students at another school meanwhile expressed sympathy and support for the expelled student, voicing concern that having been removed from class before completing his exam, he may now fail his class and face future disappointment in life.
â€œThis was not a serious violation,â€ a female high school student added. â€œHe had worked hard for a long time to prepare for his exam, and the school should at least have let him finish taking it before kicking him out.â€
â€œIf he was just trying to copy his peers and had ignored many warnings from his teacher, then he should have been removed from class, though,â€ she said.
Reached for comment, a former official from the school district told RFA that Ministry of Education and Sport regulations donâ€™t specifically state that a student may be expelled in the middle of exams for wearing an improperhair style.
â€œItâ€™s up to the schools to independently enforce the rules,â€ he said, adding that each school enforces education ministry rules differently.
â€œEven though I donâ€™t personally agree with expelling a student in the middle of exams, I canâ€™t say anything about that. Itâ€™s their school,â€ he said.
Reported by RFAâ€™s Lao Service. Translated by Sidney Khotpanya. Written in English by Richard Finney.