Hundreds of teachers and students from Kampong Thom High School protested on Saturday to demand a deputy provincial Military Police commander publicly apologise for allegedly insulting the school’s teachers and threatening to put them in jail after his daughter was punished for being late to class.
The protest began at 7am and ended at 11am, when provincial Deputy Governor Houn Vannith promised to solve the problem.
Koy Kim Heng, the school principal, said the demonstration stemmed from an incident on November 16 when Chea Phum Phoung, a grade 10 student at the school, allegedly arrived 20 minutes late to a lesson on the Traffic Law, in which more than 2,000 other students were taking part.
Phum Phoung allegedly also wasn’t dressed appropriately, so Kim Heng said she told the student to take off a denim jacket she was wearing that was not part of the school uniform, and to stand in front of all the students for 30 minutes.
The student later told her father, Sous Sovanna, the provincial deputy Military Police commander, about her punishment. Three days later, Sovanna showed up to complain to Kim Heng before openly scolding teachers, calling them illiterate.
“As teachers, we want her father . . . to apologise to all teachers at Kampong Thom High School publicly,” Kim Heng said. Sovanna declined to comment yesterday.
A total of 133 teachers signed a petition that they had planned to send to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking for his intervention, but Vannith told them not to, saying he would meet with those involved today to negotiate an agreement.
“It’s just a small issue . . . from a misunderstanding because he loves his daughter too much,” he said.