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The New Paper
March 30, 2022
A group of Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) students were told to provide an explanation over an incident involving them “worshipping a statue” on campus earlier this month.
The students had apparently disrupted classes by "dancing, chanting and praying" to a statue of Athena, according to a screenshot of an e-mail sent to all first-year students by the school’s Head of Year.
The e-mail pointed to a group of students who had “chosen to act on their frustrations and anxiety over the pen-and-paper assessments (PPAs) by dancing, chanting and praying” to the statue of Athena.
The inconsiderate acts had disturbed their seniors who were still having their PPAs, and tarnished the reputation of their batch and all RGS girls with "unbecoming behaviour".
"Regardless of your anxiety regarding your performance in the PPA, 'praying' to the statue of Athena, even if done in jest, is unacceptable," read the e-mail.
The email said those among the group who subscribed to a religion were committing a "sacrilegious" act, while those who were not religious were offending the school community, as the school is expected to be "a secular environment for learning".
Only just learned about students from Singapore’s top girls’ school getting into trouble for praying to the school’s statue of Athena frankly I’m with the girls, I think it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. You put a goddess of wisdom statue & you expect girls not to stan? pic.twitter.com/1AnwlxPtpy
— Visakan Veerasamy (@visakanv) March 22, 2022
The girls involved were asked to each write a "letter of apology" explaining their actions, and why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.
"If your e-mail is insufficient or I do not hear from you, I will follow up on this with an immediate booking. When school reopens, I will meet every one of you involved in this."
The screenshot of the e-mail circulated on social media from March 22.
According to Yahoo News Singapore, the school's principal Haslinda Zamani said the Head of Year met with the girls and listened to their explanation.
The girls "reflected with maturity" and "benefited from hearing different perspectives", Ms Haslinda told Yahoo News.
"There was no disciplinary action meted," she added.
In ancient Greek mythology, Athena is associated with wisdom, and is highly skilled in handicraft and warfare.
According to the school's virtual campus tour, the statue "symbolises wisdom and creativity, qualities crucial for daughters of a better age".