The law in Thailand says that hitting students is illegal at all times and under all circumstances. 100% illegal. This was confirmed by me with a call to the Ministry of Education in Bangkok. As well as a trip to the local police station. So this means that if you are seeing it happen, you are witnessing a crime. Please keep that in mind. When people advocate it, they are advocating what is criminal activity according to Thai law. Not just that, but every academic study relevant to the matter shows that the fallout is catastrophic and sometimes severe. If you take seriously the education of Thai students, I don’t see how this could be made light of or joked about in any way.
I say this because it is evolving into a plague at my school – with Thai teachers basically beating the kids daily, almost indiscriminately, and creating an atmosphere of outright terror for the students. So much so that some students jump the walls and run away to avoid school all together. So much so that I’ve tried to turn my classroom into a safety zone where students know they won’t be physically hurt or intimidated. It hasn’t helped the grades, test scores, behavior or study habits either.
My assistant supervisor made a joke in a staff meeting about hitting kids and my direct supervisor was present and didn’t say anything and kind of laughed along.
This may seem innocuous to some, but, since I have taken time to look at the research, it fills me with dread and terror. Dealing with kids who are constantly beat by teachers on a daily basis makes my job and life a living hell.
I find it deeply disturbing and it is tearing me up emotionally. I just registered on this site today and I was going to make a thread asking for advice from anyone on how to approach this problem and just flat out make it stop. But – I get here and this particular thread is at the top, which makes me even more worried that this may be an even more serious problem.
I found this blog site thaiteachers @ wordpress which provides some information.
I copied this text from that site:
In brief the law is very simple. It is illegal for any employee at a school, including teachers and directors, to apply any form of corporal punishment on any child.
The ONLY punishments allowed by law are:
1. Verbal reprimand
2. Exclusion from Class
3. Exclusion from School.
it is NOT possible for
1. Schools to make agreements with students or parents.
2. Individual schools to opt out of the law.
3. To claim flexibility on the law – it is just as illegal to hit soft as it is to hit hard.
In other words the law if there to protect ALL children in ALL schools equally, and this applies to both government and private schools.
The Legal Regulations
Corporal punishment is unlawful in schools under the Ministry of Education Regulation on Student Punishment (2005) and the National Committee on Child Protection Regulation on Working Procedures of Child Protection Officers Involved in Promoting Behavior of Students (2005), pursuant to article 65 of the Child Protection Act.
This was further endorsed in January 2011 when the Minister of Education AND the Prime Minister stated clearly, in interview, that striking children for any reason
was illegal and unacceptable and that teachers would be punished accordingly if caught.
Ministry of Education Rules also state:
“Any school employee who hits a child should be immediately dismissed and be subject to review of their professional license”
Advice for Parents
If any school employee hits your child you have the right to file a complaint with the police.
It is 100% illegal for any school employee to use ANY form of corporal punishment on children.
I have a link to the same text translated into Thai which I can provide:
I have taken videos of two teachers hitting the students with a cane. I was told by the police that this is the kind of evidence that is required in order to do anything. However, I am not exactly sure how to make this homerun in the context of Thai culture. I am sick of the wink wink, look the other way, mai pen rai BS that makes excuses and encourages physical harm to children in the name of 5 minutes or less of quiet and order. I think teachers who do it are incompetent.
I want to just flat make it stop but I am worried if I start making noises, pointing fingers, talking loud, bringing in the police, getting an attorney, filing charges at the Ministry of Education, going to the media with evidence and so forth, that the wagons will be circled and corruption and the culture of abuse will prevail and I won’t actually be able to make it stop. And first and foremost I want it stopped. The other side of my judgement says it’s serious enough to make the biggest racket this side of Hades and let the chips fall where they may.
So any knowledgeable advice regarding this situation would be greatly, truly, sincerely appreciated.
Thank you for your consideration.
Human Rights Watch
Many children who have been subjected to hitting, paddling or other harsh disciplinary practices have reported subsequent problems with depression, fear and anger. These students frequently withdraw from school activities and disengage academically. The Society for Adolescent Medicine has found that victims of corporal punishment often develop “deteriorating peer relationships, difficulty with concentration, lowered school achievement, antisocial behavior, intense dislike of authority, somatic complaints, a tendency for school avoidance and school drop-out, and other evidence of negative high-risk adolescent behavior.”
More than 150 studies included in the review of research on the effects of corporal punishment show associations between corporal punishment and a wide range of negative outcomes, including: direct physical harm, negative impacts on mental and physical health, poor moral internalization, increased aggression in children, increased perpetration and experience of violence in adults, poor cognitive development, damaged family relationships
Anna Key – what do you think?: In a one week period before exams, July 24 – July 31, I personally witnessed 6 different Thai teachers hitting students. I recorded 2 of these on camera, including a woman who caned a boy in the groin. The other four were actually in some ways worse, hitting people wildly and indiscriminately – even hitting students who were not doing anything wrong, or hitting students lying motionless on the ground – and often times this included forcing a whole classroom to watch (which can cause adverse effects as well to the witnesses). In addition, one 13 year old student not in any of my classes came up to me on her own and described how she had been caned by a teacher for not putting on her shoes when delivering a message between buildings (in other words, not putting on her shoes, walking 15 feet, taking off her shoes, delivering the message, putting on shoes, walking back, taking off shoes and returning to class) – for that she received a welt across her calf that lasted for 2 weeks, that swelled up and turned blue and green. I have personally seen students jumping over the walls and running away from school before the flag is raised.
Does that sound as exaggeration? Am I overly concerned? Disrespectful of Thai culture? Disrespectful of wholesale institutional contempt for the law? Wink Wink – Nudge Nudge, Shouldn’t I just bury my dumb, idiot fallang head, don’t make waves and pretend like it’s not happening? Make believe that ritually abusing students doesn’t have a direct and very negative impact on my classes and my work?
I feel committed to stay at this particular school at least for now in order to document what looks like a pathological criminal enterprise. To protect and stand in solidarity with my students. So many of who I know to be capable and intelligent but who are trapped in a system where very superficial order, coerced respect fake behavior take precedence over genuine education.
To leave my students in the lurch, now, in the name of my own self-interest, sounds too selfish and cynical.
Mr Tommy – Why don’t you contact a lawyer? Perhaps the producers of that series are not reprimanded or stopped because so far, people prefer to post on message boards rather than take any meaningful action. That’s my guess. It is, for some, easier to relax and enjoy the good life in Thailand as opposed to other, more difficult options. Lord knows I have seen that dynamic at work in this country for years.
And I am not interested in cynical, ironic doffs to that’s-just-the-way-its-done-in-Thailand, national culture, etc…That helps no one, least of all your kids.
Ultimately abusing students
1. doesn’t work, except for the few minutes you’re around to witness the compliant behavior with them silently mocking you and hating you. Students respect the stick and not the teacher.
2. fosters all kinds of dysfunctional pathologies – not just in the bad students but in the “good” students who have to witness it.
3. Is a worse than useless, half-witted way to do the job. Students who don’t like a teacher don’t learn from that teacher.
4. It is illegal, which means the abusive teacher and the corrupted institution are providing atrocious, monstrous role models for students.
If that’s the way you prefer to do things, or the way you don’t mind watching others do things, then you’ll have to live with it. Personally I cannot.
I treat my students with respect and talk with them one to one as humans and not droids that need to be managed, coralled or coerced. As a result, in a class of 50 kids I can get 100% compliance almost always for anything I ask at any time. They do this, at least as far as I can tell, out of friendship or respect towards me and knowledge that it is something that they might want to discover rather than something they must do or be physically hurt. There are some problem kids who show up bouncing off the walls and acting out – usually boys. But their problem is almost always that their Thai teachers are beating them regularly with sword canes and that these so-called educators are teaching only compliant behavior and really could care less if the kids are actually connecting synapses and learning anything. I have to say that the exam scores and English ability show this pretty tellingly.
I used to wonder how certain ugly things were able to happen in Thailand, and now I am getting a much clearer picture of contributing factors.
The ultimate fascism is child abuse. Its victims are Prisoners of War without a Geneva Convention to protect them, hostages to terrorism. As in all concentration camps, some prisoners imitate the oppressors. No surprise that the uninterrupted transgenerational abuse of children produces the most fervent followers of fascism.
And make no mistake, most fascists are followers—violent sheep “led” by a handful [of] profiteers.
What is there to say about a belief system which, carried to its logical conclusion, worships degeneracy? …it is easy to understand the fascist tolerance of all forms of child abuse.
And that truth compels another: Righteous war against oppressors of humanity is the highest calling of our species…
Fascism is the politics of the sociopath. It cannot be combatted by reasoned debate. The liberal seeks the “hearts and minds” of the electorate, while the fascist laughs behind his predator’s mask, disdaining the very concept of self-determination. But we must never imitate the oppressor, for then we become him….
Our course is clear. If we truly want to halt the poisonous blooms of fascism, we must start at its root. If we don’t act to save the children, we cannot save ourselves.
by Andrew Vachss, 1996