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School CP - June 2003

Phuket Gazette, Thailand, 19 June 2003

Corporal punishment in schools

I have twin girls who are 10 years old and their female teacher appears to make an abnormal use of a bamboo cane when administering punishment. The other day two boys in the class each received 20 strokes on the hand.

I am not saying they did not deserve some kind of punishment but this seems excessive and she resorts to the use of the cane on the hand for the slightest misdemeanor.

My idea of teachers is that, apart from teaching the basic 3 Rs, they should work to bring out the creativity in young minds. Instilling fear in children results in learning becoming distorted.

Worried Parent, Kathu.

"The Ministry of Education's regulations on student punishment, introduced in 2000, state that teachers may not use corporal punishment, except in one specific circumstance.

Normally, there are only five kinds of punishment available to a teacher. These are: reprimanding, imposition of extra work [such as detention or cleaning the school], a term of probation, temporary suspension from school, and expulsion.

The only time a teacher may use corporal punishment is if both the child and the child's parents agree to it, in lieu of any of the other forms of punishment. The punishment must take place in private, not in front of other teachers or students.

If a teacher uses corporal punishment illegally, parents may demand that the principal of the school stop all such abuse and take any other steps they feel are appropriate.

If the principal takes no action, the matter may be reported to the local Provincial Education Office (PEO), at 38 Damrong Rd, Phuket Town, Tel: 076-240550.

If nothing is done by the PEO, parents of state primary school students may approach the Office of the National Primary Education Commission. This is in the Ministry of Education, Ratchadamnoen Nork Rd, Dusit District, Bangkok 10300, Tel: 02-6287000.

For state secondary schools, the supervising body is the Department of General Education, also at the Ministry, Tel: 02-2828166-9

In the case of private schools, both primary and secondary, if the principal of the school takes no action, parents may complain to the Office of the Private Education Commission, also at the Ministry of Education, Tel: 02-2804307-8.

The penalties against the teacher will depend on the outcome of disciplinary hearings held by these bodies.

In addition to the above, or as an alternative, parents may make a complaint to the police on the grounds that the teacher has committed bodily harm against the child."

Pimporn Dabpheat, Officer at Phuket Provincial Education Office.

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