Forced uneven haircut on school students

21 June 2017

By: Dokjansichompoo



The pictures of three male students with partially shaved head were posted on the teacher’s facebook page, with a caption that reads ‘For those who want to challenge me, here is what they get.’ The photos went viral on social media and drew heavy criticism. The story was picked up by the mainstream media and was broadcasted more widely. In the end, the male teacher apologized and claimed that he did not know any better.


What did this story tell you?


I have talked to many school students from various schools about their thoughts on the Thai educational system. When asked what they would like to see changed in the Thai educational system, they mentioned issues such as students hair do not need to be so short; socks with dark colour on the sole should be allowed; and that students be allowed to wear their own sweaters (and not those provided by the schools); and wearing earrings and wristbands should also be allowed. All suggestions centered around clothes and appearance. Nobody talked about the curriculum and the teaching/learning methods. It could be that they felt heavily weighed down by rules about clothing and appearance that this aspect becomes the most prominent issue in the students’ life. When asked about the nasty uneven haircut that was used as a punishment, they said ‘don’t ask us who else experienced such a punishment but ask who got away. Fewer students got away. The majority of students experienced such punishments. The students could not understand why the teachers were so strict on keeping their hair cropped. In their efforts to comply with the teachers’ cropped hair rules, most students have to cut their hair more often than once a month.

One student shared his vivid memory of school’s punishments.


‘I think it was wasting our time. When the school gave me an uneven haircut as a punishment, I didn’t have time to go to a barber after school and so I had to go to school with the stupid haircut for the whole week. It was an embarrassing experience but, hey, I was not the only one. So it was not too bad.’

Most students think that the schools should turn their attention away from students’ clothing to the curriculum and school lessons. They said ‘In classes, we use our brain and not our hair’.

Although I can understand that rules are often needed to keep large communities like schools running smoothly, they need to make sure they do not to violate students’ “human dignity”. Humiliating the students should not be allowed anymore. Teachers need to use reason with students rather than using the age-old authoritarian power. We are certain that most teachers care about their students. Some thought that training their students to strictly follow school rules is a way to help the students. But time has changed! Corporal punishment in schools is not accepted and has been banned by the Ministry of Education for several years now. The method to train students to respect rules will have to change as well.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suriyadeo Tripathi, a psychologist, shared his views on facebook saying that teachers need to be less authoritative and more understanding of their students’ adolescent nature. Students should be taught discipline through ‘positive disciplinary’ approach rather than ‘negative disciplinary’ approach in which punishment is the norm. Thai teachers should be taught ‘class room management’ skills and learn to avoid using anger towards their students. This should help solve the fundamental conflicts between teachers and students. The concept ‘Thailand 4.0’, the country’s current development framework which promotes innovation and creativity should also be used in guiding changes within the Thai educational system. Now is the moment to change the authoritative values of the current Thai education system so youths can become the main drive for our country’s future and have the opportunity to grow in an innovative and creative environment; an environment in which everyone, young or old is equally respected and subscribes to the same rules. Students should not face any more intimidations and humiliation