An abuse-plagued school sinking further into scandal said today it will sue a kindergarten caretaker turned national pariah not for her serial abuse of students – but for harming its reputation.
After Ornuma “Teacher Joom” Plodprong’s assault complaint against the parents of one of her victims ignited another cascade of hot fury, the 30-year-old class aide accused school administrators of forcing her to do it. In response, school attorney Decha Kittiwitthayanun today denied her accusations and vowed to sue her for besmirching its reputation.
Decha, who somehow may still represent Ornuma, went to the police last night to drop her assault complaint against parents who gave her a reprisal thrashing after seeing footage of their child harmed at the Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School.
“It’s a misdemeanor anyway, so there will not be any harm after the withdrawal,” Decha told reporters there.
He cited immense public backlash to the lawsuit for dropping the case. When Ornuma did not show up, he told reporters that she had car trouble and a headache.
But a clear break between the embattled school and its primary abuser was on display today when he accused her of lying by saying the school had forced her to file the complaint. In a phone call to a parent, Ornuma said she didn’t want to sue the parents but couldn’t resist the school’s pressure because she felt guilty about harming its reputation.
“Joom, stop lying to the public … stop hurting Sarasas schools, students and parents!” he said today, addressing the news talk show she was appearing on. “The school didn’t force Joom to countersue the parents. Now the school is preparing to sue Joom.”
Ornuma wasn’t the only police no-show at the police station in northwest metro Bangkok. Principal Rattanaphron Muri told investigators through a rep today that she was too busy to respond to a summons and offered to appear next week.
While she failed to appear, cops told the media that two of the kindergarten’s teachers were due to answer questions in person today about the chronic abuse that has been exposed at the Nonthaburi province school.
In less than a week, the once well-regarded private school has become a symbol of the institutional abuse of Thai students.
A torrent of leaked clips has emerged showing violence was commonplace at the school, perpetrated by Ornuma and a number of other teachers. The scandal has been exacerbated by the school’s owner, who last week taunted officials to shut him down and bragged about his dubious educational methods.
Decha the lawyer said that negotiations with 11 parents of children harmed on campus would soon be concluded.