Siem Reap Teachers Refuse to Work Following Wedding Brawl

About 170 teachers at a high school in Siem Reap City refused to work Wednesday after the director of the school failed to heed their demand that he fire a fellow teacher for attacking the school’s deputy director at a wedding last month, according to the director.

Kim Leng, director of the 10 January 1979 High School, said the angry teachers also have the support of some of the students’ parents after a video of the fight—between Chean Sorn, the teacher, and deputy director Ly Bun Sophonny—was shared on Facebook.

“If the teachers continue to strike I can only pray and ask them to teach. They should think of the students’ futures,” Mr. Leng said, adding that he could not comment on who was to blame for the wedding fight.

“The teachers are demanding that [Mr. Sorn] be moved to another school, but it’s hard for me because I don’t want to lose anyone,” he said.

Mr. Leng added that the director of the provincial department of education asked the teachers to return to work today and promised to help resolve the dispute.

Mr. Sorn, who was among about 15 teachers who continued to conduct their classes Wednesday, denied the accusations that he started the fight, and said he has filed a complaint to the provincial court over the incident.

Mr. Sorn said four men attacked him at the wedding, including the school’s deputy director, who ultimately suffered a head injury.

“There’s no reason for me to move [schools] because Mr. Sophonny is jealous that he is not as popular or as good a teacher as I am,” Mr. Sorn said.

“[Fellow teachers] are striking because they want me to move. However, they do not know the truth about the problem and who really made the school’s honor go down.”

Mr. Bun Sophonny could not be reached. Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said the teachers’ demand was unreasonable.

“To move Mr. Sorn, that’s not easy,” he said. “We must solve the problem another way to make things normal again.”

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