Draconian School Rules

As if Thai schools weren’t known for being dictatorial enough, a school in Surin would have taken it a step further with excessive rules to supposedly promote patriotism for Thailand’s three pillars: nation, religion and monarchy. .

According to a document released Sunday by Bad Student, a group that works for the rights of Thai students, the school has listed misconduct that can lead to the deduction of the so-called “behavioral score”. Each student has 100 points to start with, but if found guilty of wrongdoing, their score will be reduced based on the severity of their offense. Mischief against the three pillars is the first category of offence. I list them all here to illustrate how drastic they are.

• If a student does not practice religious ceremonies wholeheartedly, his score will be reduced by five points. Minor infraction.

• If he does not stand up during the national anthem or the Royal Thai anthem, 10 points will be deducted. Medium offense.

• If he does not sing the national anthem or the Thai royal anthem out loud, five points will be deducted. Minor.

• If he is not a good student of the school and the nation, 10 points will be deducted. Medium.

• If it turns out that it harms the stability of the Nation, the Religion and the Monarchy, 50 points will be withdrawn. Serious offence.

According to Bad Student, the school principal also allegedly said, “If you can’t agree to these rules, you can quit,” to students during orientation.

Do we live in North Korea? I can’t imagine the audacity of the school administration to enact these kinds of rules when they already have so much say in what goes on in the students’ bodies when it comes to haircuts and haircuts. uniforms. I think these rules are unnecessary and harsh and I also don’t think they can be implemented in a practical way.

For example, how do you know if someone is wholeheartedly participating in a religious ceremony? Is there a scanner for this? What voice do you have to sing these songs in for them to be considered strong? Should teachers wear portable decibel meters to monitor their students?

And give me a break about being khon dee. Do you really want to ask your children to be good students for the school and the nation? Based on what? On what criteria? What are you talking about!? If they stay out of trouble, don’t kill animals for fun, and produce satisfying grades, that’s good enough!

And the last rule. Are you afraid that the students will stage a coup and roll back the democratic process like high-ranking Thai soldiers did?

The only thing I think these rules would do is create a depressed and scary atmosphere in the school and create unnecessary extra work for teachers (who may not agree with the application of these rules in the first place place). I’m sorry, but I feel like these rules are just a blatant display of power (borderline abuse) by their creator and perhaps an attempt to win the face of the conservative camp. I don’t know if their definition of fear equals loyalty.

In this increasingly disruptive world, schools should focus on how to equip Thai children with the skills to survive and make something of themselves in the future that doesn’t look bright. Or the schools may as well disappear.

Instead, this school tries to emphasize what many Thai textbooks already have. What a disservice to children. They already know what the three pillars are. I guess maybe the school wants to prepare these kids for more draconian laws as adults.

But then again, I shouldn’t be too surprised. When do Thai schools advocate freedom of thought or expression?

Martha K. Merrill