(15 May) Ms.Panita Kumpoo Na Ayutthaya, Secretary of Education, addressed the case of “Potter”, a 3 year old boy in Sisaket province who was left in a parked vehicle by a school teacher for 7 hours and was killed by lack of oxygen.
Ms. Panita said the Ministry of Education ordered child care centers and schools to take heed and be extra careful with the safety of the students, especially on school buses.
This incident marks the 2nd time this has happened this year.
Ms. Panita said the ministry will inform school personnel on how to aid students that are trapped in a car. The ministry will also educate the students, especially small children, on what they should do if they get trapped, for example, how to open car doors and honk car horns.
According to the new measures, the schools are required to have a class on these safety measures once a week to equip children with the means of self-preservation should these incidents take place again.
Mr. Bundit Sriputangkul, Secretary of Private Education Intergovernmental Panel, said that since the first incident in Samut Prakan where a 3 year old girl called “Auey” was trapped on a school van for 4 hours at a kindergarten, the Office of Private Education Commission placed checking system measures at schools to insure that this does not happen again.
The students were to be personally escorted to their home rooms and attendance checking was mandatory. A project to teach kids to help themselves in situations like these was also introduced before the start of the semester, and a second newsletter was sent to emphasise the importance of these new measures. However, a similar incident occurred again which means the schools are not following the new protocols, he said.
Mr. Bundit said that in this case the vehicle was a pickup truck that had a roof added on to it. The deceased child was sitting at the front portion of the truck with the driver and fell asleep. He was left there until 15.00 and was found dead. The driver is also a teacher at the school.
The investigative committee have been set up to penalize school administrators or teachers involved, but Mr. Bundit added that the ministry does not have the power to lawfully persecute the teacher and can only reprimand the institution.