Sarasas school refusing to negotiate compensation for abused children

Sarasas school refusing to negotiate compensation for abused children

Management insists court should decide on settlement

Parents gather at Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Nonthaburi province in September, demanding assurances their children were being safely cared for. (Photo:  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Parents gather at Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Nonthaburi province in September, demanding assurances their children were being safely cared for. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The management of Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Nonthaburi province have refused to negotiate compensation for children allegedly physically abused by teachers and other staff.

They want the issue to be decided in court, Prayuth Phetkhun, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General, said on Tuesday.

Lawyer Ronnarong Kaewphet, chairman of the Campaign for Social Justice, on Tuesday led a group of parents and their lawyers to a meeting at the attorney-general's office.

They were expecting to meet with the school management for negotiations over compensation for the abused children. The meeting was called by the prosecutors.

The school representatives did not show up. They sent a letter to the prosecutors on Nov 6, saying they did not want to negotiate. They wanted compensation to be determined by the Civil Court.

Mr Prayuth said that was perfectly legal.

He said that in a subsequent discussion with the parents and doctors it was agreed that the abused children would undergo 30 days of mental rehabilitation. The cost would be included in the compensation claim to be submitted to the school.

The Office of the Attorney General would send a letter again inviting school executives for talks on compensation in maybe late December, he said.

Prosecutors from the office for the protection of rights and legal assistance for people would act as mediators. If the school again refused to talk, prosecutors would provide volunteer lawyers to handle the cases to be filed with the Civil Court for the parents, he said.

Mr Ronnarong said the parents had demanded 5 million baht each in damages, about 130 million baht in total. He personally thought the demand was not too high because it had not yet been confirmed by doctors how long it would take the abused children to heal mentally. 

One of the parents also said the demand for 5 million baht compensation was not high, taking into consideration the children's mental illness and possible future medical costs.

The school had so far returned only the tuition fees for one semester, and had not paid for other costs, she said.

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