School explains pro-election rally

AYUTTHAYA ― The Ayutthaya Witthayalai School director accused of forcing his pupils to attend a pro-election rally last week has clarified his reasons for organising the activity.

Chalermsak Parathanya addressed almost 5,000 students on Tuesday, after young people gathered outside his office to protest and blow whistles on Monday.

The pupils were angry about being forced to march from school to attend a pro-election rally at the old provincial hall on Jan 17.

Many of the students said they disagreed with the activity and the march resulted in their school being branded the “pro-red shirt school” in the local area.

Mr Chalermsak explained that the school had earlier received a letter from the Learning Centre for Politics in Democracy, an agency under the authority of the Office of the Election Commission of Thailand, asking it to send two teachers to participate in a workshop as part of a parliamentary election awareness campaign in academic institutes. 

The two teachers who took part in the workshop were required to hold an activity to promote elections in their school. 

Mr Chalermsak said the school and its student council agreed to organise the demonstration to campaign for election democracy without the intention of supporting any particular political group.

He added that it is normal practice for the learning centre to organise educational activities relating to democracy when there is an election and said that the agency always seeks cooperation from the school, which is the biggest in the province. 

He said the school did not want to prevent students from expressing their political opinions but hoped to encourage them not to use violent language to convey their views on social media.

Pupils and teachers who disagreed with the pro-election rally said the conflict had been resolved since they were satisfied with Mr Chalermsak’s explanation. 

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 21/01/2014 at 08:30 PM
You have got to give the PTP/UDD one thing. They are experts at making up excuses. They have had a lot of experience in it.
Discussion 2 : 21/01/2014 at 08:18 PM
All ended well, the students made their complaint known. The school administrator gave a rational explanation for the action that took place with student council approval and the student body was satisfied when all facts were made known. Now if only politicians and protesters could put egos aside and have rational discussion and decision without violence.
Discussion 3 : 21/01/2014 at 08:04 PM
Those responsible for this decision should be fired. This is corruption in the educational system. The school students should not be forced to support one side or another in a partisan environment. I am a firm believer that the elections should go ahead as early as possible, and that corruption should be routed out. The current corruption is not new. Thailand is really just a feudal system with a democratic face, but it is the best system they have right now. If the school wants to help, start educating students at an early age in ethics. Of course this was an example of unethical behaviour.
Discussion 4 : 21/01/2014 at 06:54 PM
Fortunately you were not consulted when the light bulb was invented, they put a man on the moon, the Berlin wall was torn down or Martin Luther King spoke "I have a dream". Repressive attitudes will ultimately never prevent the human spirit from rising on wings and finding inspiration for the betterment of it's kind. Including here in Thailand.
Discussion 5 : 21/01/2014 at 06:17 PM
Agree. Bringing politics to school is insane. The kids can barely understand what is happening in the reality. Not saying that none of them have any idea who Suthep was before as they are getting false information.
Discussion 6 : 21/01/2014 at 05:54 PM
Or they could be offering them an view of the sort democratic process that would ensure Thailand a place in the modern world, unlike Suthep's feudal worldview
Discussion 7 : 21/01/2014 at 05:44 PM
As mentioned by a previous commentator, the school didn't ask the students to rally to vote for PT. But to back elections. And in that, it is seriously different simply because it is not PT who is backing alone the election against everybody else, as some want us to believe. But it is ALL THE PARTIES (40 in total) who agree to take part of the election EXCEPT ONE : the Dems (35 % of voters since 10 years) who boycotts it, while the PDRC simply wish to block other people to exercise their basic right of voting. But as almost everybody I strongly disagree to involve politic at school and don't back this school.
Discussion 8 : 21/01/2014 at 05:37 PM
I doubt the students learned anything unless they had follow-up workshops in which they were encouraged to freely debate, to critically think and discuss what they had observed and to ask their teachers questions. Very unlikely because Thais students are usually punished for asking questions.
Discussion 9 : 21/01/2014 at 05:28 PM
The reds not only use kids as human shields (2010) now they forced to attend meetings as well supposing to swell the numbers.

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