BANGKOK — The school embroiled in an ongoing criminal investigation for a series of violence against children agreed Monday to refund all tuition fees for the victims’ families, after parents told the public prosecutor to file a class-action suit against the management.
Attapon Truektrong of the Private Education Commission, which oversees privately owned schools, said the directors of the Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School already paid compensation to some of the parents whose children were mistreated by the school staff – some of whom were working without license.
“The school has taken action as committed in the agreement with the parents,” Attapon said. “They are giving refunds to the parents. The commission has also instructed the school to improve classroom conditions and overcrowding problems, while the lawsuit between the school and parents will proceed accordingly.”
Attapon did not mention the amount of money refunded by the school. Under the agreement, affected students will be refunded this year’s tuition fees and paid for their physical and mental treatment.
Tuition at Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School, which offers international and bilingual curriculums, is reportedly over 100,000 baht per semester.
Twenty parents of the assaulted children also submitted a petition to the Attorney General Office last week, asking prosecutors to help file a civil lawsuit against the school. The parents demanded 5 million baht compensation from the school for negligence.
But prosecutor spokesman Prayut Petchkhun said it is too early to launch a class-action lawsuit against the school since investigators are still collecting evidence. He said the office will help interview the victims to speed up the process.
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Deputy education minister Kanokwan Wilawan said the ministry will ask school administrators to give updates about the compensation payouts.
“We don’t know how many parents have been compensated so far, so we will call the management in to clarify about it,” Kanokwan said. “The agreement they made with the parents did not specify the timeframe, so we need to keep pressing on them.”
Sixteen teachers and babysitter at the school stand accused of mistreating children, Nonthaburi provincial police chief Paisarn Wongwatcharamongkhol said. They were all released on bail on a 8,000 baht bond.
The former director of the school, Warunee Puaktes, will come to hear charges of hiring teachers without a valid license on Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Paisarn added.