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September 23, 2009

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Thai anger over attack on student by teacher

A TEACHER in Thailand was captured on film beating a 14-year-old student and bashing his head against a blackboard, sparking national outrage and pledges yesterday from education officials to crack down on corporal punishment in classrooms.

The 50-second clip, filmed by a classmate using a mobile phone, was seen on Monday on a nationally televised morning news program.

"Are you really going to stop!" the male teacher shouted at the student, gripping the boy's neck in a choke hold and whacking his head repeatedly, according to the footage obtained by The Associated Press.

The bespectacled boy wore the standard Thai school uniform of a white buttoned shirt and dark shorts. He was only slightly taller than his teacher's waist.

"I won't do it any more," the boy screamed after the teacher slammed his head at least four times against the blackboard as his classmates watched, occasionally giggling.

The beating occurred on September 9 at a private Thai-Chinese bilingual secondary school in Bangkok.

The student had forgotten a textbook and the teacher reprimanded him, prompting the boy to sound off with profanities at the teacher who flew into a rage, said the school's director, Srithai Damrongrat.

The classmate who filmed it showed the clip to a neighbor who took it to the headquarters of Thailand's Channel 3 television station.

"I could not accept it, so I brought the video to Channel 3 myself," said the neighbor, Manop Mankong, a 61-year-old food vendor. "I want to seek justice for the boy in the video and also want Thai society to learn a lesson."

Among those who watched the news show on Monday morning was the boy's older sister and primary guardian, Maliwan Oipien, 35. "We were shocked," she said.

Maliwan has filed a police complaint against the teacher and sent the boy for medical tests for head injuries.


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