K Thom Schoolmaster Says Teacher Promoted Political Agenda

A deputy schoolmaster in Kom­pong Thom province has filed complaints with the Education Ministry asking that a fellow teacher be fired for exhorting his students to dislike the ruling CPP, parties to the complaint said Wednesday.

Uch Phally, deputy schoolmaster of Baray district’s Treal High School, accused Sun Thun, who teaches morality and civic education, of criticizing senior CPP leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, in front of his students.

Sun Thun is also provincial president of the Cambodian Indepen­dent Teachers Association and a member of the opposition SRP.

“[Sun Thun] created the problem himself,” Uch Phally said by telephone on Wednesday. “In my complaint, I just want him to be away from my high school,” he added.

Uch Phally said that he first filed a complaint with the Ministry of Education because Sun Thun allegedly insulted him and his mother. He then heard that Sun Thun had politicized the classroom, which prompted the filing of a second complaint.

“Sun Thun repeatedly refused to apologize in public for cursing my respected mother. Then he taught the students just to yell and blame the government leaders,” he added.

Uch Phally declined to say whe­ther he was a member of the CPP.

Contacted by telephone, Sun Thun denied the accusations against him, saying that he taught lessons as presented in the school-issued textbooks.

Sun Thun said that he was going through the text’s chapter 13 on corruption and was halfway through chapter 14 on democracy when the headmaster filed the complaint.

“I told my students in general terms—and did not name anyone—that some societies have corrupt officials in government bodies, that those countries will never develop, especially when the corrupt officials are getting richer and richer while ordinary people are getting poorer,” Sun Thun said.

“I have done nothing wrong, but such allegations are made because I am a member of the Sam Rainsy Party,” he said, adding that he was an SRP provincial candidate in the 2008 national election, and elected first deputy commune chief in 2007, a position he has since quit.

“They’re seriously discriminating against me after I repeatedly rejected their offer of a good position in government if I defected and agreed to join the CPP,” Sun Thun said.

The Ministry of Education, he added, sent five inspectors to the school to investigate the complaints against him on Monday.

Sok Sokha, deputy director of the Education Ministry’s Inspection and Financial Administration Depart­ment, confirmed the investigation of Sun Thun, but he declined to comment on the case because he had not yet received a report.

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