Second victim goes to police
College told to treat complaints properly; brain surgery for first
Published on September 21, 2007
The family of the second youth who suffered burns to his body in a hazing ceremony filed a complaint with police yesterday against senior students from Thai Wijitsilp college.
Tawan Sujichai, 17, went with his mother Wannakorn Sakha-mula to see police at the Crime Suppression Division.
He said the hazing was for a group of students who caught bus number 90 to and from the private vocational college.
Tawan said senior students asked the freshmen to meet at Bang Sue train station last Friday and board a bus to a weekend ceremony at a resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Thap Sakae district.
He said he went because he wanted to join the group, he met with three other freshmen, seven second-year students, plus third-year students and graduates.
Tawan said four freshmen including himself were told to roll over a spot where a fire that was nearly out had been covered with sand.
"At the time I felt burning sores all over my body. The burns on my chest were because the seniors pressed a burned fork or spoon onto my skin. All of us freshmen had this mark.
"After that we were told to take a shower and go to sleep, at about 11pm. At the time I saw Niphon Tosing [the 16-year-old student who suffered a head injury and is now in coma] and he looked normal," he said.
He said Niphon was sick the next day and had such a severe headache he couldn't eat, so he was sent to hospital. After, the rest of the students were sent home and explained that the hazing ceremony was a tradition they passed on. But the seniors did not tell them what happened to Niphon. Tawan said his mother later saw the burns on his body, so he told her about the hazing. On hearing the news, they decided to file a compliant with the police.
Wannakorn said she was told by college officials there was no policy to respond to this hazing. Unhappy with the college's reply and its alleged decision to allow students "to take a break until this blew over", she opted to go to the police.
Wannakorn said she felt the school had shown no responsibility, so she decided Tawan should study elsewhere.
Case investigator, Pol Sub Lt Narongchai Ekkachan, yesterday looked up Niphon's academic records and found that Niphon was no longer a student at the college, as he had failed to submit a student application for the 2007 first semester. But the victim's foster mother Suthin Tosing said Niphon's "dropping out" of classes may be a misunderstanding, the officer said.
Police would summon 10 senior students to testify on the matter and hear the charges filed against them, he said.
Narongchai said the college told police the accused senior students had been suspended from first semester exams and a fact-finding committee set to look into the matter. Students found guilty would be dismissed.
Police could not take action against the school for this case because Niphon was not listed as a student and the school had previously prohibited any hazing ceremonies, he said.
Meanwhile, Niphon - still in a coma at Chol Prathan Hospital in Nonthaburi - underwent brain surgery yesterday. He was said to be in a critical condition and at risk of ending up permanently disabled.
The youth's family insisted that the college still had not contacted them about the matter. They have vowed to press criminal charges against the students involved. Suthin said her foster son had just dropped classes and was still a student at the college.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Wijit Srisa-an said the Office of the Private Education Commission has been assigned to assist the injured students.
He urged the college to assist the injured and stop such problems reoccurring. Wijit said the school must order appropriate punishment.
"They can't just fire them without a probe. The school can't just brush off their responsibility because the wrongdoers were their students," he said.
The school should find a solution for both parties, with help from the local area office, so they don't lose educational opportunities, he said.
The hazing case follows another incident - a recent video clip of a Mathayom 2 student being attacked by senior students. Wijit expressed fears that if school violence was left unsolved it could lead to an escalation of problems and school shootings occurring.