Thailand’s Education Ministry has launched a program aimed to prevent sexual harassment in academic institutions. Announced on Monday, June 20th, the initiative is termed “Student Protection and Help Centre.”
Nataphol Teepsuwan, Thai Education Minister, emphasized that schools aren’t only learning institutions, but are also the second home of students.
Teepsuwan said that sexual harassment has no place in schools or academic institutions of any kind.
The education official cited several recent sexual harassment cases and abuse where the victims are being coerced to stay silent, allowing perpetrators to go without punishment.
Teepsuwan said that the education department doesn’t want schools to become a place where sexual harassment is the norm.
Due to the number of sexual assault cases in schools, the Education Ministry has assembled a sexual harassment committee tasked to protect and aid victims.
The help center was created under three central ideas: promoting immunity and protection, solving old problems and preventing new issues, and making students a priority.
Teepsuwan stated that persons who have been sexually harassed by school officials could call (02) 700 0001 or the 1579 hotline. They can also visit the Education Ministry’s Facebook page to report an incident or show up at the ministry’s office to report sexual cases directly.
Despite the sexual harassment resource center’s launch, a janitor in Buriram stated that he was removed from his post four months ago due to knowledge of a teacher being a sexual predator.
Suchakree Setsiri, 50, said that he was fired for exposing a teacher alleged to have abused a 12-year-old girl in their school.
Due to the incident, the victim’s family then transferred to Prakhon Chai after receiving a threat from the indicted teacher, the alleged rapist of the victim.
According to the victim’s mother, the teacher sent the message:
“Don’t forget to take contraceptives, and don’t tell anyone or I will kill your family.”
The police then approached the teacher, who later confessed to the sexual crime and apologized to the victim’s family.
However, other teachers close to the alleged rapist further threatened the victim’s family, dissuading them from filing a lawsuit.
Various sexual cases by educational instructors have been reported throughout Thailand over recent months, including a gang rape case involving two students in Mukdahan that went viral.
The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), alarmed over the trend of harassment over schools, called on Thailand’s Ministry of Education to review sexual abuse mechanisms and protocols.
“The review, in partnership with professional bodies such as the Teachers’ Council of Thailand, can also help in strengthening the code of conduct for teachers and other education staff, further ensure these codes are effectively implemented, and appropriate sanctions applied.”
Source: The Nation