A school, or teacher, is reported to the police for hitting a child. They reply by claiming (and often producing) they have a written agreement with parents permitting them to beat the students for misdemeanours.
Every time they do this they are informed that such contracts are illegal and carry no weight.
Despite the laxity of the law in Thailand it is, like most countries, not possible to write a contract that contradicts law. Any contract that contradicts law is VOID. That is the same for any contract about any issue.
Even simple logic says this: you cannot CHOOSE which laws you obey and which you do not. That is anarchy! This particular law is there to protect ALL children. It is not the right of a parent to choose, it is there to protect every Thai child EQUALLY.
The law is simple – any teacher who hits a child is breaking the law and should/will be punished accordingly.
The issue of these “agreements” has been succesfully tested several times. Most notably at Yothinburana School where it was made clear by no less than the Minister herself. Also more recently at Pakpranang where the school tried to hide behind such an agreement only to be told by the investigating police officer that such agreements are unlawful. Nine teachers at that school are now awaiting trial as a result.
So why do they still exist in so many schools? Are school directors really so stupid or are they just ignorant of the law?
The truth is that neither is correct. School directors are VERY aware of the law and its implications. However they are also very aware that they cannot be held personally liable. Because the offence committed is one of “common assault” only the person who does the hitting can currently be prosecuted i.e. the teachers themselves.
So why do directors write these contracts? There can only be two reasons:-
1. They don’t care and consider themselves “above the law”.
2. They “use” the teachers i.e. instruct teachers to abuse children knowing full well they cannot be held personally liable. As in the case at St Marys school Korat where the director just passed the buck to the teacher despite the fact she knew full well that several teachers were regularly abusing students.
So what is the answer? It’s simple.
Make school directors personally liable for the actions of people they employ. If the directors, and not the individual teachers, could be fined and jailed this practice would very rapidly stop. Hit a director where it hurts, in their own pockets, and systematic child abuse by teachers in Thailand would be a thing of the past.
Time after time we hear parents complaining that their children are afraid to go to school because they are scared of a particular teacher. Usually these kids have never been hit themselves but they see other kids being abused frequently and this makes them fear school.
Good kids are again losing out because they make excuses to skip school (usually claiming illness) when they have a class with the teacher concerned that day.
Thai teachers should concentrate on these “good” kids and think about the effect they are having on them, their education and their futures.
No child should ever have to learn in fear. Schools should be happy places, not intimidating places kids are too scared to go!
These teachers often believe the children respect them but they need to understand that fear and respect are not the same thing at all.
What part of the word ILLEGAL do Thai teachers and administrators not understand?
You can come up with as many excuses and reasons as you want but it it AGAINST THE LAW for teachers to hit a child in a school in Thailand. This applies to any form of hitting be it hard or soft, with a cane or with a hand, it is ILLEGAL! If you break the law you are committing (or abetting) a crime!
You cannot get around the law by claiming it was “reasonable” or that you have the parents permission, or that the law is flexible etc. The law exists to protect chilren, ALL children equally. NO teacher, school, or parent has the right to choose to ignore the law. Are we a country of laws or are we a country of anarchy?
Most of those teachers who hit always say they do it because the children break the school rules!!
So…………..if a child breaks a “rule” they should be punished (ok we can agree with that) but if a teacher breaks the LAW that is OK?? We don’t think so! Teachers are just as accountable as every other member of society! They are not “special” and they do not have any special status that allows them to pick and choose which laws they obey and which they do not.
On the other hand…………..it is probably a good indicator of the low intelligence level of the abusers that they continue, often openly, to blatantly ignore the laws of our land. After all if they do not understand the meaning of ONE simple word what is the likelihood they understand anything else?
On of the things many teachers in Thailand who discipline children seem to forget is the good kids inthe class. These are the real losers!
If a teacher spends the first 10 minutes of every class disciplining the bad kids, or checking who has not done homework etc, that is 40 hours a year of learning lost to the good kids. Its about time teachers got their priorities right and considered the good kids.
If other kids mis-behave, just remove them from the class and get on with the job of educating those who actually WANT to learn. You are teachers, not pseudo parents or social workers……………so TEACH!
This is the biggest single problem preventing the abuse of children from ending in Thai schools. Time and time again we hear teachers claiming “all Thai teachers are good people” – NO THEY ARE NOT!!
The majority of Thai teachers ARE good people but until we all accept the fact that there are SOME bad people in our profession we will never solve the problem. Its a bit like an alcoholic – he cannot be cured until he accepts he is one.
Teachers must stop denying that bad people and bad teachers exist in our profession in Thailand and we should all work together to remove them – not to cover up for them as we do now.
The age issue is largely to blame. Younger teachers are taught not to criticise older teachers so the older teachers continue the old ways such as rote learning, corporal punishment and even sexual abuse in extreme cases. The saddest thing is that not only will the young teachers not try to stop them but they also learn from them and as they get older they become the same.
The teaching profession has always attracted perverts and sadists. This is same all over the world. Thailand is no different. What IS different is that good Thai teachers do nothing about it. When they see a teacher abusing a child they simply look the other way.
It is time for action – for the sake of our children. Thai teachers MUST put the protection of the children first and:
1. Tell any teacher using violence to stop!
2. If that does not work then report that teacher to the police.
The FIRST thing Thai teachers have to do is get their heads out of the sand – stop saying all teachers are good people, accept that some are bad people then we can collectively work to remove them from our education system.
This article was contributed by a Thai teachers from Chiang Mai and is her personal view.
In 2008 she admitted caning several students, one female student 18 times. This event was reported to police by the parents of the girl concerned. Ms Permpool admitted the offense but the school defended her saying they had a written agreement with parents to cane students.
Ms Permpool did resign from her position as Head of Year but did not resign her post as a teacher.
In January 2011 Ms Permpool was still working at Yothinburana School although she claims she has stopped abusing children. The school appears to still permit caning so we do not know if this is true or not.
Our view is that Ms. Permpool should be serving a jail sentence now, not teaching children. We are trying to get this case re-investigated and a report sent to prosecutors with a view to Ms Permpool being properly charged and tried in court.
Lessons to be learned from Caning Controversy – by Burin Kantabutra
I have a simple question for teachers who believe it is OK to abuse children.
How do you stop the sadists and perverts?
The teaching profession has always attracted people who enjoy hurting and abusing children – this is the same all over the world.
So, imagine this – we have 10 teachers in a school!
Nine teachers say they only hit children becasue they love them.
One teacher is a sadist who does it because he/she enjoys it.
How do you stop the one? That is my question.
The ONLY way to stop the one sadist is to stop them all all. If you do not the nine (so called) “good” teachers are simply legitimizing the actions of the sadist. Worst they are giving him/her somewhere to hide.
The bottom line is simple – if you give the sadists a place to hide you are supporting child abuse.
BANGKOK (AFP) — High school test results in Thailand have revealed a failure rate of more than 80 percent in mathematics, biology and computer studies – among the teachers.
The failure rates for teachers who took exams in their own subjects were about 88 percent for computer studies, 84 percent for mathematics, 86 percent in biology and 71 percent in physics, the education ministry said.
And almost 95 percent of about 37,500 secondary school directors did not score a pass mark in English and technology, according to the ministry.
The poor results have ignited controversy in Thailand about educational standards.
“Even teachers fail, so how can we raise the quality of students?” Education Minister Chinnaworn Boonyakiat was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post newspaper.
More than 84,000 teachers and school directors took the exams, the first of their kind.
AFP 2010-06-09 | AFP News Sponsor