A Songkhla principal accused of sleeping with a freshman student brandished a handgun at a school assembly today, sending students scrambling.
Hundreds of students ran from the morning flag-raising assembly after Principal Sayan Chaleephol, freshly accused of having sex with a minor, pulled the gun out of his pants while addressing the student body in an incident caught on video. Just before he took out the weapon, Sayan, who had been discussing Thepha School’s mundane budget matters, began apologizing and asking for forgiveness from the students.
“I told them yesterday that I would make this matter be heard even more than what they did,” he said, though his meaning was unclear even to those present. There is silence after he puts the microphone down, after which a student is heard shouting “no, no, no!” as people begin to flee.
Students told reporters and the police that was the moment when Sayan, after turning his back to the crowd, faced them again with a gun in his waistband he then pulled out.
Thepha police arrived and removed Sayan from the school, which is located near the border with Pattani in Songkhla’s Thepha district.
The teachers called it a day, helping arrange for students to be picked up by their guardians. Students and parents speculated that Sayan wasn’t intending to hurt anyone except for possibly himself, if that.
Col. Thammarat Petchnongchum of Thepha police said a freshman student’s parent came yesterday to file a complaint that the principle had a sexual relationship with their minor child. He said that the girl would be taken for a medical examination.
In what could be the greatest under-reaction ever, local education officials said they were considering suspending Sayan from duty.
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