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Dark Side Of Thai Student Behaviour

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Dark side of student behaviour

BANGKOK: About a fifth of students at 10 Bangkok schools - both primary and secondary - have been the victims of bullying in one form or another, a student survey project has shown.

The survey of 500 students found that school bullies covered a wide spectrum of bad behaviour from football gambling to physical violence and rape.

The survey was conducted as a part of term paper entitled "Student Mafia", by four graduate students at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Education.

Victims of bullying said they had been coerced into joining football gambling and drug rings, and that they suffered racial abuse, physical violence and threats, and extortion.

The survey included average students at both co-educational and single-sex schools in both the government and private sectors.

Another part of the project, which discussed the behaviour of student bullies in small focus groups at five primary and secondary schools in Bangkok, revealed more about the darker side of bullying.

In some primary schools, girls would ask for between Bt500 and Bt1,000 from boys who wanted to court one of their friends, the findings said. In some cases, the boys stole this money from their parents.

Some students at primary schools played strip paper-rock-scissors, in which each player would take off an item of clothing each time he or she lost.

In certain secondary schools, bullies choked or put a lighter under the chins of other students if they refused to hand over money - up to Bt100 - which would be spent on computer games at gaming centres.

Some male students raced each other on their motorcycles at night for bets of up to Bt20,000 or the chance to have sex with the loser's girlfriend.

Male students would rape female students if they declined to be their girlfriends. And almost half of those raped had their complaints turned away by the police, the research said.

Heterosexual and homosexual swinging sex and ecstasy parties were also among the findings of the research.

Female students who could not repay gambling debts were forced to either have sex with the bookie to have their debt reduced by Bt2,000 per sex session, or sleep with other men to get a larger sum of money to repay the debt.

The survey pointed out that school violence was growing sharply and that the Ministry of Education needed to tackle the problem as a matter of urgency, said Amornwit Nakhontap, a professor overseeing the research.

But some school administrators said that this was not the case - at least not at their schools.

Panit Chengsoongnern, deputy director of Wat Chanasongkram School in Bangkok, admitted that some students might bully their peers but said the percentage of victims presented in the research was too high.

The director of Wat Noi Noppakun Secondary School in Bangkok, Noppadol Laochote, said his school had no problem of violence among students as it has an assistance programme in place to deal with deviant students.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday ordered the authorities to reinforce the crackdown on illicit student activity such as the nightly dating spot under the Rama I Bridge.

--The Nation 2003-12-16

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My kiddies are only in grade 1 but swear they have their own mafia and some seriously think they're "The Don". Had one today (after belting another child on the head with his book) grab my hand and lead me round the room to give stickers to the students "HE" wanted me to give them to. He also punishes the disadvantaged children (it's a private school so some parents struggle to send their children) by not letting other students share their special pencils with them. Can see this behaviour escalating in later years, so doing my best to put a stop to it - who knows whether it will do any good :o

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