A student in Phuket has not been allowed to pass to Grade 10 because of his rallies in 2020 about students’ rights and liberties and the abolition of uniforms. The school tried to stop his and his friends’ activism before prohibiting him from continuing his education at the school on the grounds of not being loyal to the nation and monarchy.
A note from the student affairs office regarding the admission rejection. The circled part refers to the case who was rejected for not being loyal to the nation and monarchy.
According to the Bad Student activist group, at least 15 9th grade students were named by the student affairs office, which requested the principal to reject their automatic admission to Grade 10, giving as reasons tobacco addiction, engaging in brawls and misbehaving. The case of Wave (pseudonym) stands out as the reason given was “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”.
The case was heavily criticized on social media as seen in the hashtag #รรปสดชื่อดังติดสถานีตำรวจ (famous crazy school close to the police station).
Wave told Prachatai that he was monitored by the school when he started to join rallies the abolition of uniforms in 2020 along with other students countrywide. He invited his friends to join the cause via social media posts; a screenshot was taken of one and sent to the school’s student affairs office.
Despite being monitored and asked not to stage political activities, he kept on rallying about students’ rights and liberties. He and friends ignored a caution about breaching school regulations by distributing white ribbons to his schoolmates, resulting in them being summoned to the student affairs office for warnings.
Wave said the lecture that day was based on rhetoric about being for the nation, religion and monarchy, plus the principle that students must obey rules. The day passed by without any points deduction but he was the only one who was prevented from passing to the 10th grade, the transition from middle to high school in Thailand.
“I’m not really okay about being dealt with like this because it is a reason that no one should suffer from. It is our right to express ourselves,” said Wave. He added that he has received a lot of support from friends. His family has acknowledged it but still taken no stance. Meanwhile, he has not been contacted by the teachers.
The student activist aims to re-enrol at the same school via the school entrance exam with students from other schools. What he fears most is that the school will still not accept him due to his record. If that is the case, he will seek a lawsuit against the school for impeding his right to an education.
“If anyone is dealt with like me but makes no response, the school may become arrogant and there may be more students facing the same thing.”
He added that the school should accept a diversity of skills among students. Separating special classrooms from regular classes and fostering prejudice between different classroom curricula should end.
“I feel that students should have more rights and liberties than this, including freedom of thought. Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely,” Wave said about his dream for the school.
Students' attempts to address student rights and issues within schools countrywide surged significantly after the rise of the pro-democracy movement in around July 2020. Students from many schools have joined together to communicate with the public and stage public gatherings.