In our globalized world, harsh penalties are not accepted in the education system, whether a person does it with a reason or not. Even so, Thailand still cannot solve these chronic problems. Schools shall be safe and happy places for students but, many Thai students have been abused by the teachers which greatly traumatize them. Many Thai students will once in their lifetime get abused by the teachers. The most prevalent violence would be corporal punishment and verbal abuse which affect students in both physical and emotional ways. Thailand's education system has always been in crisis and it is surprisingly unbelievable that even kindergarten kids get abused too. With such chronic problems, this article will be focused on legal issues related to criminal law and the rights of the children which at all times shall be respected.
According to the Thai Criminal Code, it depends on the effects of such punishment caused by teachers. Harsh punishments sometimes caused only damages to the feelings of students. Article 391 stated that any person who commits a forcible attack against another causing the victim to sustain any bodily or mental harm is liable for a maximum punishment of one month imprisonment or a fine not exceeding one thousand baht or both. In the instant case, most teachers will be punished by Article 391 as the harm cannot be perceived clearly. If the student’s parents can settle with the teachers who cause the harm then the teachers won’t get imprisonment, as such Article is considered as a light punishment relating to the private offense. However, if the harm is perceived clearly both by bodily and mentally to the students, there will be more liability to the teachers. Article 295 stated that whoever causes injury to the other person in body or mind is said to commit bodily harm, and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years of fine not exceeding four thousand baht or both. This offense is considered as a public offense. Therefore, the settlement is not available. The prosecutor alone chooses to prosecute criminal charges against the teachers directly without any consent from the student’s parents. The purpose of all the criminal law articles above is to protect and maintain peacefulness in the society.
In the aspect of children's rights, Thailand has signed and been a party of the Convention on The Rights of the Child (CRC) since 1992. Therefore, Thailand shall follow the convention in order to ensure that all children get their basic needs, rights, and protection according to the convention. Among many articles, there are four main pillars in CRC, which are right to survival, right to protection, right to development, and right to participation. Situation in Thailand where violence is involved in the education system, causes Thailand to be in breach of three main pillars of CRC. Thailand has not conformed with the right to protection as children shall be protected from all forms of violence, but children are still beaten up and get hurt from the schools by the teachers. Consequently, the right to development is deteriorated as many developments can be approached through education which is so essential to all children. However, the ineffective education system in Thailand cannot develop children’s skills at its best, on the ground which corporal punishment and verbal abuse are still existed in schools. Lastly, there are situations where Thai students have come up and demanded for educational reformation, but the government and some schools ignore the students’ demands. Children are a part of society, the right to participation shall be respected at all times including the right to freely express their opinions. Their opinions and voices shall be seriously taken into account.
Conclusion and Opinion
Childhood is a crucial period in building up their skills such as social, physical, and emotional skills. They should grow up without any trauma. In our opinion, there should be a reformation in the teacher’s selection process by educating teachers that harsh penalties are inappropriate and checking teachers' mental health. Teachers shall use alternative ways to improve students' behavior rather than causing bodily or mental harm. Moreover, students' opinions must be listened and seriously taken into account. Both government and citizens shall cooperate in abolishing all forms of violence against students. Also, Thai society should be aware that causing harm to other people is inappropriate in our globalized world. The more rates of using violence in Thai society, the higher risks occur on the people who face such violence and will later become teachers. Future teachers who fall under violence and get into the education system through ineffective processes or get no mental health check-ups, tend to cause the loop of harsh penalties against students. Government must ensure the society of the schools' standard. Every school shall be a safe and happy place for every child to learn and develop their skills, whether it is private or governmental school. We wish that these problems will be solved without hesitation so that the students will no longer suffer from the education system anymore. We hope that things will get better real soon.
"What is the Convention on the Rights of the Child? Child rights we should all know," UNICEF Thailand, accessed 29 October 2020, from https://www.unicef.org/thailand/what-is-crc
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