Sarasas teachers set to face charges

Sarasas teachers set to face charges

Police find abuses in 10 affiliated schools

Two Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School teaching assistants leave Nonthaburi Provincial Court on Tuesday after being granted bail in a case where they are accused of abusing students. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Two Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School teaching assistants leave Nonthaburi Provincial Court on Tuesday after being granted bail in a case where they are accused of abusing students. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Police say 13 teachers and teaching assistants in 10 Sarasas-affiliated schools have been found to have physically abused their students and will face criminal charges.

Pol Lt Gen Amphol Buarapporn, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 1, which is responsible for crime suppression and prevention in some Central Plains provinces, said the 10 Sarasas schools were involved in 54 abuse allegations, affecting about 30 children.

All 13 teachers and their assistants on Tuesday were questioned by police and later released on 8,000-baht bail by the Nonthaburi Provincial Court.

Pol Lt Gen Amphol said he had instructed investigators to talk to the abused students with the help of a multidisciplinary team, insisting that justice must be done for all involved.

The abuse of kindergarten students at Sarasas-affiliated schools has sparked a public outcry and led to calls for tough legal action against the abusive teachers and schools for ignoring the abuse and allowing many teachers without teaching licences to teach young kids.

Parents of children who reported abuse in one of the classes have threatened to sue the teachers for five million baht each.

In a related development, the Teachers' Council of Thailand has filed complaints against the principal and executives of Sarasas Ratchaphruek School in Nonthaburi province for violating the Teachers and Educational Personnel Council Act.

A spokesperson for the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, Patcharin Samsiripong, said a House committee on youth met on Tuesday to discuss the abuse of children at many Sarasas schools.

Representatives of the police and the Ministries of Education, Public Health and Social Development and Human Security would be invited to a meeting scheduled for Oct 21 to speak about measures to rehabilitate the abused children and legal action against the guilty teachers, said the spokesperson.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said his deputy, Kanokwan Vilawan who is responsible for the Office of the Private Education Commission, was looking into the specific case of Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School.

Asked about calls to close down the school, the minister said such a measure would force thousands of students to find a new school.

Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek must be given a chance to solve its problems first, he said, and the immediate priority was to take care of the abused students.

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