Teachers Told Not to Protest

A school principal has threatened to fire any teacher who demonstrates again after last week’s march on the National As­sembly, teachers union officials and teachers said on Sunday.

Ten teachers at the Chak Angre Poum Pe primary school in Meanchey district were asked on Wednesday morning to fingerprint a letter stating that they could be dismissed from the school and sent to a remote area if they ever engaged in public pro­test again, Rong Chhun, head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said.

More than 300 teachers from around the country demonstrated for higher salaries last Tuesday.

Yim Moch, one of the 10 primary school teachers, said she and her colleagues thumbprinted the let­ter out of fear. The principal of Chak Angre Poum Pe, Huy Sa­roeun, denied there had been a letter.

Yim Moch said the teachers have complained to the human rights NGO Licadho.

In addition, after allegedly be­ing intimidated into promising not to demonstrate, the 10 teachers were summoned Wednesday af­ter­noon to meet with the district Department of Education, where they were “educated” about their “responsibilities,” the deputy chief of the department, Kong Kane­tha, said on Wednesday.

“If 10 teachers are absent in one day, how can we handle 1,000 students?” Kong Kanetha said. “We just want to tell them that they are responsible.”

Rong Chhun went to the school to dissuade the teachers from going to the district office, say­ing the summons was illegal. Huy Saroeun, angered by Rong Chhun’s interference, called the police to “drag him away,” the principal admitted.

“Rong Chhun leads the teachers to be absent and join demonstrations. But does he ever think about the students’ safety when there are no teachers?” Huy Saroeun said.

By the time police officers arrived at the school Rong Chhun had already left, taking the teachers with him to make their complaint to Licadho. But in the afternoon, Huy Saroeun was able to persuade them to go to the district office, Yim Moch said.


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