Calling it an unfair and unjust decision by the Banteay Meanchey court, six teachers from Samdech Euv High School who were ordered transferred to new schools claimed the measure was retribution for their complaints against school officials.
Some of the teachers will have to report to new schools as far as 79 km from their former schools.
“If we do not perform our duty they will accuse us of doing something illegal [against the government],” said Sim Sorn, a teacher of philosophy.
Provincial education officials say the teachers were asked to move because they were insubordinate.
The teachers say the relocation was ordered after their complaints uncovered a corruption scandal in which several school officials were punished for taking up to $15,385.
A union official, commenting on the case earlier this year, contended the relocation was political.
The decision, reached last week, was released after a 45-minute session in which the court asked the teachers to respect the transfer order from the provincial education office, Sim Sorn said.
Human rights workers from Licadho, Adhoc and the UN office of Human Rights in Banteay Meanchey were present. The teachers were represented by Ouk Vandet from Legal Aid.
The teachers said they were forced to teach in the new schools.
“The court was biased with the provincial education officials,” Sim Sorn claimed. “A Khmer proverb says, ‘Eggs must not hit the rock.’”
The provincial office did not pay the teachers for the month of October “because they accused us of abandoning duty,” Sim Sorn said.
Sim Sorn was assigned to teach about 22 km away from his friend Peng Soseng. A teacher of Khmer literature was assigned to teach 79 km away from his wife, who is also a teacher at Samdech Euv High School.
“It is terrible to see their separation,” Sim Sorn said. “Above all, they have kids to take care of.”