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School CP - September 2004

Corpun file 14094

The Nation, Bangkok, 28 September 2004

Head transferred for caning

A school director was yesterday slapped with a transfer order for caning a 19yearold female student who repeatedly played truant and was found in a rented apartment with a male friend.

Anon Bualom, the director of Sak Ngarm Wittaya School in Kamphaeng Phet, admitted caning Nueng (not her real name) 39 times last Thursday.

The teenager's buttocks were bruised and swollen and she also developed a fever. Her mother then lodged a complaint with police on Sunday against Anon.

Fundamental Education Commission secretarygeneral Pornnipa Limpapayom yesterday said she had already transferred Anon to Kamphaeng Phet Educational District II Office.

"He is also facing a probe," she said.

The Education Ministry has banned corporal punishment in schools. If it is ruled that he committed a noncriminal offence, Anon will face a 5percent salary cut for three months at most.

Pornnipa said Anon should have alerted the student's parents instead of resorting to the cane.

She said her office also issued a memorandum to all schools across the country that they must not cane or use violence against students.

Kamphaeng Phet Educational District II Office director Sutis Thongsanitkarn said he felt Anon had overreacted in the case even though the student misbehaved.

"There are many other forms of punishment," he said.

According to Sutis, Nueng had studied at Sak Ngarm Wittaya School for only one semester. She quit her former school because she had unspecified problems there, Sutis said.

Sak Ngarm Wittaya School has reportedly opened its door to students with behavioural problems. In a bid to rein in these students, the school board and parents jointly signed a memorandum of understanding that caning could be used against those who misbehave.

Pornnipa said the school board had no mandate to approve corporal punishment in schools.

Anon said he caned Nueng out of good intentions, hoping that she would stop misbehaving and that other students would not follow her example.

"I had warned her twice before for the same offence. But she still did it a third time and a few others were starting to follow her example. I wanted to stop it," the school director said.

Anon said he was sorry if Nueng's parents felt that he overreacted.

Nueng's mother said she would pursue legal action against Anon because he had punished her daughter excessively.

"I want this case to be a precedent, so that other students will not suffer such punishment," she said. Khlong Lan police station summoned Anon for questioning last night.

Meanwhile, Senator Wallop Tangkhananurak said he understood Anon's good intentions but also described the repeated caning as an overreaction.

"Also he should not have disclosed the girl's sexual behaviour. That must never be exposed to the public," he said.

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