NONTHABURI — In a camera footage that wouldn’t look out of place if it were taken inside a CIA black site, a teacher at a school northwest of Bangkok is seen shoving a 2-year-old nursery pupil and wrapping the terrified girl with a black plastic bag as a punishment.
It was the latest case of violence on preschoolers at Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School, where four education workers were already arrested and charged for about 30 counts of physically assaulting the children under their care.
The footage was shown to the media by the father of the girl. It shows a teacher trying to put the 2-year-old into a trash bag as a punishment for some unspecified offense. As the girl tried to resist, the teacher grabbed her arm and shoved her to the ground in front of other teachers, who did not intervene.
“I don’t know what’s in their mind,” her father Adisak Kiatpanompae said. “My kid never told me about it. I believed she didn’t know that it was violence. I don’t know what made them so mad at my child.”
Pimrada filed a complaint against the teacher at Chaiyapruek Police Station Friday morning. Several other parents were also there to report assaults on their children perpetrated by education workers at the same school.
Legal activist Ronnarong Kaewpetch, who volunteered to represent the parents, said he brought ten nursery parents to lodge their complaints against the teachers today. He said the accused teachers, identified only as “Ing” and “Praew,” were not seen at the school after the incident unfolded.
Nonthaburi provincial police commander Paisarn Wongwatcharamongkol said investigators counted at least 29 instances of assault against 10 students over a ten-day period. Four teachers and babysitters were charged with physical assault and violation of children’s rights so far.
Maj. Gen. Paisarn said the school management will also be responsible for hiring teachers who did not have teaching licenses, though that charge can only be brought by the education ministry and the Teachers’ Council.
Disakul Kasemsawas, sec-gen of the Teachers’ Council, said inspectors found many educators at the school did not hold a license to teach. But the president of the firm which operates the school said he was unconcerned about the revelation.
“I’m not afraid if you shut my school,” Piboon Yongkamol, president of the Sarasas chain of schools, said in an interview with Channel 3. “I will sell the property and make even more profits.”
In spite of the top executive’s unapologetic statements, the school said it was sorry for the incident and pledged to accept responsibility for the staff actions.
Warunee Puaktes, the school’s acting director, said the school will conduct psychological evaluations of all teaching staff and pay compensation to the affected students.