NONTHABURI — Police on Tuesday said criminal charges were filed against a Filipino teacher who allegedly assaulted kindergarten pupils in the classroom as more parents came forward to report similar incidents at the school.
The 25-year-old Filipino national, identified by police as Marvin, was charged with working without a legal work permit, regional immigration police commander Archayon Kraithong said. He became the second education worker to face criminal investigations following a string of assaults at Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School northwest of Bangkok.
“We found that he has no work permit,” Maj. Gen. Archayon said. “He entered Thailand on a tourist visa and it has already expired. We will send him to a local police station where investigators will take action about the assault against him.”
Seventy-four other foreign teachers at the school were checked for their papers, though all of them carry a valid work permit, he added. Immigration chief Sompong Chingduang also said the bureau will press charges against school administrators for hiring a foreigner without a proper registration.
Marvin, who taught English at the school, was seen in a security camera footage shoving a child to the ground and yanking at his arm in front of other students and teachers. A babysitter in the same class, Ornuma “Khu Jum” Plodprong, was charged yesterday for mistreating students in a similar manner.
Marvin turned himself in at the local immigration office Monday afternoon after immigration officers came to the school looking for him. He told reporters after hearing the charge that he did not assault the student, but was only trying to bring him to the toilet.
“I saw my student playing with his mucus, so I asked him to go to the toilet, but he didn’t want to,” Marvin said. “That’s why I admit what I did on the video that I forced him. I know it’s a bit harsh and I know it’s a mistake.”
The footage obtained by the parents also shows him turning a blind eye to Ornuma’s actions. Marvin said he made no attempt to intervene because he thought that violent punishment is a standard procedure in Thai schools.
“I’m a new teacher here and I don’t know about the rules and regulations yet,” Marvin said. “What they’re saying is that if Thai teachers try to discipline the student, foreign teachers are not allowed to do anything. I’m scared to do anything because I’m afraid that it will get back to me.”
Nitha Youkong, the school’s headmaster, said Ornuma, Marvin, and two other teachers have been sacked following the incident. The school said Marvin does not have a work permit because he was on probation period and has not signed an employment contract with the school.
Ornuma turned herself into police Tuesday morning, Nonthaburi provincial police chief Paisarn Wongwatcharamongkhol said.
She was charged with physical assault and violation of children’s rights, though investigations are considering pressing more charges against her after eight more parents came forward about the assault, he added.
Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School is one of the Sarasas chain of private schools which operate around the country. Tuition at Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek is reportedly over 100,000 baht per semester for classes conducted in English.