By Prasit Tangprasert,
The alleged assault by physical education teacher Paitoon Klaengkratok has left 17-year-old Naruedee Chodsantiah with a deformed lip. She is also unable to fully close her left eye.
The incident apparently took place on August 8 at Chokchaisamakkee School in Nakhon Ratchasima province.
The Secondary Education Service Area 31 Office, which oversees the school, launched a disciplinary probe against Paitoon, 58, and transferred him to an “inactive post”.
Naruedee and her mother say they approached the media earlier this week because the school and the teacher refused to take responsibility for the incident and only offered Bt80,000 in compensation.
The office’s director Chukiat Wisessena said yesterday that the investigation should be completed in seven days. Witnesses were interviewed at the school yesterday.
Student Somsak Khakratoke said Paitoon was angry because some students tried to stay out of the sun and kept standing despite his order for them to sit in rows.
“He then threw a cup at a group of students and since Naruedee was checking her cellphone at the time, she could not escape the object in time,” the student said. “It doesn’t look like the teacher intended to hurt anybody.”
He said Naruedee did not show any signs of serious injury initially because she continued participating in sports after the incident. “I am shocked to learn that the symptoms worsened later,” Somsak said.
Samak Waiyakhuntode, who is leading the investigation, has promised to look into the incident carefully.
Nipon Pakdeekaew, director of the Chokchaisamakkee School, described Paitoon as a good, hard-working teacher.
Investigator Captain Kan Singchaichai from Chok Chai Police Station said the two sides had already met three times – on August 18, September 2 and 12 – to negotiate. “I can’t disclose the details and will let both sides speak for themselves,” he said.
Kan added that Paitoon has not been charged yet. “Once we have solid evidence, we will charge him with physical assault,” he said.
Education Minister General Dapong Ratanasuwan said it is necessary for teachers to be emotionally stable and patient. “No teacher should use such means to control or punish students,” he said.
He added that school executives should keep an eye on teachers to ensure such incidents don’t happen.
The Pavena Hongsakul Foundation took Naruedee to Yunhee Hospital yesterday.
The hospital’s president Dr Supot Sumritvanitcha said that a preliminary examination showed that she had suffered nerve damage.
“But it will take further investigation to determine the extent of this damage. If it is serious, then it will be necessary to schedule surgery,” he said.
He said the hospital would have neurologists and ophthalmologists look into Naruedee’s case.