TCT mulls harsher rap for abusive teachers
The Teachers' Council of Thailand (TCT) is considering harsher penalties for teachers who sexually abuse or physically injure their students.
Ekkachai Kisukphan, chairman of the TCT's Professional Standards Committee, said the committee now plans to adjust the ways it disciplines teachers who sexually abuse or use corporal punishment and unreasonable disciplinary methods in the classroom.
Under the plan, teachers who sexually abuse their students will have their teaching licences permanently revoked, while teachers who use corporal punishment and unreasonable disciplinary methods will be suspended for at least six months.
Mr Ekkachai said that at present, the TCT divides sexual offences committed by teachers into two categories.
The first category includes non-penetrative physical contact. Teachers who commit this type of offence are only temporarily suspended from their posts. The second one is physical contact involving penetration, or rape. In this case, teachers' licences are revoked. "This should be adjusted as all sexual offences are serious crimes whether they involve penetration or not. Teachers who commit this kind of crime must lose their licences," Mr Ekkachai said.
Teachers who physically injure students by using corporal punishment and unreasonable discipline are only suspended from teaching for 60 days, said Mr Ekkachai. "In many cases, teachers accused of crimes came back to classes although the investigations into their cases had not been completed," he said.
Mr Ekkachai said he wants schools and teachers to realise that physical punishment not only injures the children, but also causes trauma and low self-esteem. "All sexual offences and inappropriate corporal punishment are crimes, so teachers who commit them should be dealt serious penalties," he said.
Although Thailand currently has a child protection law which bars teachers from hitting their students in schools, corporal punishment is still widely practised.
The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) previously established a blacklist of badly behaved teachers who have violated students' rights. The list consists of the names of personnel who have already been warned about violating students' rights. Parents or schools can also request a background check of any instructor registered with Obec.