St Margaret's principal allows students to forgo wigs

Students from Victoria Junior College posing by a Hair for Hope banner with their shaved heads. (Hair for Hope Facebook photo)

St Margaret's Secondary School principal Marion Tan has agreed to allow five of her students to show their bald heads, concluding a controversy that erupted when the girls refused to wear wigs after shaving their locks for a project to support children stricken with cancer.

The principal’s decision was revealed by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in a post on Facebook on Wednesday morning as he praised the resolution.
"I understand that Mrs Tan's rationale for asking the girls to wear wigs was because she was concerned that students of St Margaret's should present themselves within the school's guidelines," he wrote.
"However, it is reasonable to ask if and how exceptions could be made, under special circumstances like the Hair for Hope cause,” he pointed out.
He also noted that the school had no issue with the five students "having a heart", but was emphasising the need for having a "healthy respect" for honouring commitments that are made.

Late last week, news of the five girls shaving their heads to support the Hair for Hope initiative angered the online community when the students were made to promise to wear wigs to conceal their bald heads. Two honoured their promise, while two of whom developed rashes after initially wearing the wigs and another did not.
"The school was also trying to teach the girls that character is seen in how we honour our commitments, as much as it is seen in our charitable acts," he added.

"This, then, is the real heart of education, that everyone appreciates there is a learning moment in every situation, in every decision we make, in every promise we pledge," he said. "I ask parents to work together with our educators to give our children the best experiences and lessons to become outstanding young people of character. Because ultimately that is what is really at stake."

A tuition teacher who spoke to Yahoo! Singapore on Wednesday, however, said that some of her students from the school believe that the three girls who broke their promise did so out of rebellion.

"To my students, they broke the school rule and the promise. To me, they did it for themselves and not for charity," she said, adding that one of the girls even tweeted, "Bye Marion!" in light of the controversy that has since whipped up an online storm. "The principal did not break any rules; I don’t think she deserves what she's going through."

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COMMENT: St Margaret’s principal, listen to the girls who helped Hair for Hope