No really, stop rage-cutting Thai students’ hair, education ministry orders

A week after another student was forcibly given an “ugly” haircut by a teacher, the Education Ministry yesterday ordered such punishment forbidden at all schools nationwide. 

Prasert Boonruang, ministry spokesman, said Thursday that relevant agencies overseeing schools at all levels were instructed in writing that it was no longer an acceptable way to impose hairstyles on students. 

The letter forbid teachers from punishing their students by cutting their hair against their will. It instead advised every school to give verbal warnings, suspensions, reduced behavior points or devise other corrective measures to change their behavior. The ministry also advised schools to host meetings between teachers, students and parents to reach mutual agreement on hair rules.

Enforcement of archaic hairstyle requirements has been debated anew recently, and last week, a 15-year-old student at Yang Chum Noi Pittayakom School in Si Saket province made headlines after her hair was crudely cut by her teacher. The student, who was not identified, told reporters that the teacher deemed her hair too long because it was lower than her chin. 

Si Saket’s secondary education director Chuchart Kaewnok said he warned the teacher, whose name was not disclosed, not to do it again. He said the teacher apologized to the student and her family.

A young group of activists have garnered attention for staging creative protests against the enforcement of pudding-bowl bobs for girls and crew cuts for boys. Although the Education Ministry has already relaxed the rules to allow students to grow their hair longer, many teachers continue to zealously enforce them. 

On May 1, new regulations were published which allow male and female students to wear their hair as they like, so long as it is “tidy” and “appropriate.” Perms, bleach jobs and facial hair remain forbidden. 


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