New Bangkok governor says student success about concentration, not hair

Bangkok’s new governor is the latest official to say that hair styles aren’t what counts in students’ academic success. Governor Chadchart Sittipunt told a school director in the capital today (Thursday) that student success depends on concentration and responsibility, and he doesn’t believe that hairstyles have any effect on this.

Chadchart had been inspecting a school in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district, following his announcement last week that all Bangkok schools are Cannabis-free zones. But during Chadchart’s visit, some other topics came up as well.

The school director told Chadchart that the school has been giving free haircuts to students who want them. Chadchart responded by telling the director that he doesn’t believe hairstyles don’t have an impact on academic performance, which he said depends more on concentration and responsibility.

In most Thai schools, teachers use forced haircuts as a punishment to discipline students. Thai schools’ haircut rules “officially” changed 2 years ago, outlawing haircuts as punishments. But a study conducted in May found that 74% of respondents said forced haircuts were still being used to discipline students.

Last month, a secondary school student from Nakhon Ratchasima province, northeast Thailand, secretly filmed a teacher cutting bald patches into the hair of 10 male students and posted the video on social media. Netizens called out the teacher’s actions as inappropriate and a violation of children’s rights.

The province’s education commissioner asked the province’s Office of Secondary Education to launch an investigation into the incident.

Just days before the incident last month, Thailand’s education minister had confirmed that teachers are not entitled to cut students’ hair as some form of punishment for violating the rules on hair styles. Trinuch Thienthong said her ministry had no such regulation and that teachers have no right to cut students’ hair in a manner that leaves them humiliated.

Perhaps Trinuch and Governor Chadchart are part of a growing group of Thai officials speaking out against Thailand’s haircut humiliation.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.