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Students treated as 'animals'

Parents of schoolchildren who were forced to pick up plastic bags from the ground with their teeth and stand in the sun for an hour as punishment for a water fight said yesterday their children had been treated like “animals”.

The punishment was given to around 60 wet grade eight- and ninth-grade students at Hun Sen Secondary School in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district on Monday after they filled up the bags with water and threw them at each other.

A representative of the parents said: “I have never seen such a punishment before. It is unreasonable.

“They regard these students as animals. They [forced them to] carry the rubbish with their mouths.”

He added that such a punishment was not good for society and that the school had alternative punishments available.

Last night Heng Sunly, the accused school vice-chief, said that he had warned students not to throw water for days before – but the students were stubborn and had hurt his feelings.

Last year, he said some students had suffered head injuries due to such action and children had also played with rocks which had broken the school roof.

“I warned them for days in a row, but they did not listen to me. When their kids are wounded, the parents blame us. They do not understand,” he said.

He added that he had issued the punishment to all the stubborn students, even his friends’ children, but they did not complain.

“Those parents complained because they want to make me look bad,” he said.

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