Teacher shamed for student slapping

Nakhon Ratchasima: A senior teacher accused of using excessive force by slapping a student protest leader after forcing him to remove his trousers has been found guilty by a panel investigating the incident.

Allegations arose that Soeng Sang School deputy director Isoonpiyathorn Juthatham in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Ban Bua Luang district slapped the head of a Matthayom 5 student in front of other students.

The findings were yesterday disclosed by Chukiet Viset-sena, director of the Office of the Nakhon Ratchasima Secondary Education Area 31, who set up a panel shortly after a video went viral last Friday showing the incident.

Mr Chukiet said the committee, comprising staff from his office and the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) questioned students and Soeng Sang School teachers who witnessed the incident. It found the deputy director guilty of using excessive force.

“Mr Isoonpiyathorn has violated the first rule of the Teacher Professional Development guidelines which concerns showing compassion and leniency to students. His conduct shows a complete lack of a teacher’s moral ethics,” he said.

Mr Chukiet said the committee has yet to decide what punishment will be meted out to Mr Isoonpiyathorn. The probe would wrap up in the next 15 days.

“Based on current evidence, Mr Isoonpiyathorn is likely to receive a minimum penalty as he admitted to his wrongdoing, and claims to have acted with good intent,” Mr Chukiet said.

Mr Isoonpiyathorn had been transferred to an inactive post outside the district pending the investigation.

On Saturday, parents of the assaulted pupil took him to Soeng Sang police and lodged a complaint against the deputy director.

Mr Isoonpiyathorn on Tuesday met police to hear the criminal charges. However, Soeng Sang police superintendent Rewat Yuangaksorn said the student’s parents and the suspect had “come to an understanding”.

The suspect apologised to the parents of the student and police fined him 500 baht for assault. The incident happened when dozens of students refused to attend classes and gathered on a football pitch to demand an explanation about how the school had spent parent donations.

The group, led by a Matthayom 5 student, whose name was withheld, said the school sought 200 baht from each pupil to fund a mobile SMS service, supposedly so the school could stay in touch with students and their parents.

The students say the school received a total of 100,000 baht, but did not go ahead with the project. The students claim they never received texts and held a protest.