Teacher sacked over assaults on kindergarteners

Teacher sacked over assaults on kindergarteners

Nonthaburi police weigh charges after video of abuses at private school goes viral

An image from a video shows a teacher pushing a 3-year-old to the floor in the presence of other staff at the privately run Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi on Sept 23.
An image from a video shows a teacher pushing a 3-year-old to the floor in the presence of other staff at the privately run Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi on Sept 23.

Police are weighing assault charges against a teacher fired for beating kindergarten students at a private school in Nonthaburi, after video of the incidents provoked outrage among parents and the public.

A group of parents on Saturday filed a complaint with Chaiyaphreuk police in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi, asking them to take action over the assaults on the children, some as young as 3 years.

Pol Col Sathitporn Bunyarattanaphan, chief of the Chaiyaphreuk station, instructed investigators to expedite the case and work with psychiatrists to question children who were physically assaulted.

Thai media reported that officers administered drug tests on the teacher and the initial results were negative.

Several videos that have been widely shared online show different occasions on which a woman is seen assaulting kindergarten 1 pupils at the privately run Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Pak Kret.

One video obtained from closed-circuit TV in the classroom showed the woman pushing a girl to the floor and pulling her hair in the presence of other teacher assistants, but nobody intervenes. The incident happened on Sept 23 and drew anger from parents who saw the video after it was posted on Facebook on Friday.

Other videos show other examples of mistreatment by the same teacher, identified as Ornuma “Khru Jum” Plodprong, including the use of a broom to beat some children.

Angry parents went to the school and confronted Ms Ornuma physically on Friday. She later filed a complaint with police against the parents.

On Saturday, school executives sent a letter to Nonthaburi education authorities about what they acknowledged were inappropriate punishments used by the teacher against children on Sept 23.

The school expressed regret and said it would take responsibility. It has fired the teacher and promised to take disciplinary action against other staff involved, Thai media reported.

School officials have met with parents and are providing legal assistance to families taking action against the accused teacher.

The school plans another meeting with parents on Tuesday to discuss further remedies to help the affected children and measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.

The mother of one boy who was assaulted by the teacher said she was puzzled as to why her son did not want to go to school. She noticed her son became frightened on seeing his teacher. She later learned what had happened to him after seeing the video.

Chotipong Harnkhajornsuk, 41, another parent, said his child had been also gripped with fear and did not want to go to school. He questioned why other teaching staff who witnessed the incidents did not intervene. He said he would ask the school to see more CCTV footage.


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