Schools in Narathiwat reopen
- Published: 28/01/2013 at 05:56 PM
- Online news:
All 378 schools in Narathiwat province reopened on Monday after a two-day shutdown in the wake of the shooting of a Thai-Muslim teacher in the southern province last Wednesday.
The 378 schools reopened after the Confederation of Narathiwat Teachers ordered all schools in the insurgency-plagued province to close down last Thursday over security concerns, a day after the murder of Chonlathee Charoenchol, 51, a teacher at Ban Tanyong School in Bacho district.
Teachers at 27 schools in Bacho district closed classrooms on Thursday and Friday over fears for their safety. They said the attack also terrified the students.
Chonlathee was shot in the head by an attacker at noon while he and 15 other teachers were taking care of 292 students in the school's canteen.
Police said four suspects had arrived on two motorcycles and walked into the school canteen and shot Chonlathee dead in front of shocked, panicked colleagues and children. He was the 158th teacher killed in nine years. The killing shocked security authorities because the area had been rated at "low risk" of attack and the victim was a Muslim at a Muslim school.
At Ban Tanyong School, only 70 out of 292 pupils and seven out of 14 teachers showed up for classes Monday.
Director of Narathiwat Primary Education Area Office 1 Atthasit Rattanaklaew said seven teachers at the school had submitted requests to work elsewhere. Mr Atthasit said he had asked them to do their job until the term ends because examinations were imminent.
During the school’s morning national anthem session, Yainoong Torae, a Prathom 2-teacher, asked the students to try to come to school every day and remain attentive in class.
"We must be strong and fight on. Although there are few teachers today, we will take good care of you. We all have been saddened by the departure of teacher Chonlathee, but we must move on," Mrs Yainoong said in tears.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the national army chief, said security measures for teachers in the far South were already clear and would not need to be fine-tuned.
However, he said soldiers might not be able to keep an eye on all teachers in the region because they have many other duties to tend to. The teachers also needed to look after themselves, he added.
"It's up to the agreement between teachers and security personnel as well as the implementation. Therefore, we don't need to adjust the security plan," Gen Prayuth said.
National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said the security situation in Narathiwat province was normal as all schools reopened on Monday.
Lt Gen Paradorn said there was no additional deployment of troops and security measures remained the same.
However, the number of soldiers in certain areas had been adjusted in accordance with the situation, he said.
On Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung's idea of sending border policemen to the southern-most provinces and getting them to fill in as teachers, Lt Gen Paradorn said the number of volunteer teachers in the region was already enough.
Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was very concerned about the safety of teachers in the South.
Mr Jarupong said Ms Yingluck had instructed security personnel to adjust their shifts so that they can oversee the teachers at all times, including at prayer time.
Interior deputy permanent secretary Panu Uthairath said about 8,000 village headmen and local officials in the area had formed a network. They would notify each other via cell phone when insurgents attack a teacher or steal people's vehicles, he added.
In Pattani province on Monday morning, arsonists set fire to 13 closed circuit television (CCTV) security cameras.
Pol Col Kowit Rattanachote, chief of Thung Yang Daeng police station in Pattani, said three cameras were destroyed in two locations of Panare district and 10 were destroyed in three locations of Mayor district.
Police blamed insurgents.
On Jan 14, a total of 76 CCTV cameras were set ablaze and three others stolen at 43 spots in Yala province.
Related search: schools narathiwat Ban Tanyong teacher assassinated
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