Student’s hair length in most Thai schools must be short
Any non-Thai that has taught in Thailand, or knows people that have, knows about Thailand’s strict school rules when it comes to what students are allowed and not allowed to do.
Rules that are akin to what I had to suffer during my high school days in England in the 1970s. Rules that are not ‘normal’ in the UK over 40 years later. Or in many other countries either.
Rules like forcing students to cut their hair short if it is longer than a specific length.
A rule that, in Thailand, is still common in many Thai schools, where students are either forced to have their hair cut to just above their shoulder by a hairdresser or, if they do not, a teacher will cut their hair for them.
Thai teacher cuts student’s hair short at Kanchanaburi school
Such was the case of a Thai student in a Kanchanaburi school this month when, after being told several times she should have her hair cut to the acceptable length, she had not done so. (See video below)
So, the student was pulled aside by a Thai teacher who measured her hair with a ruler. Another teacher then cut the Thai student’s hair with a pair of large scissors, hacking off around 12 inches of hair in a somewhat straight line.
Thai teachers cut students’ hair often
While, during my time as a teacher in Thailand, I never did witness a Thai teacher cutting a student’s hair, I know several western teachers that have seen such an event.
In fact, in Thailand, it happens quite regularly, as Thai teachers enforce strict rules with practices that would not be deemed ‘acceptable’ in many other countries.
The school in Kanchanaburi, however, grabbed public attention when another student filmed the teacher cutting the student’s hair on her mobile phone.
The video was then uploaded first to her own Facebook account, and then to a Facebook account called Black Hat.
The video caused a public outcry.
Thai Rath investigates the hair cutting incident
In part, due to comments by the public, Thai newspaper Thai Rath went to the Kanchanburi school to speak to school staff and to find out what was the story behind the student being forced to have her hair cut.
The Thai Rath reporter spoke to a woman called Khun Phawadee Jitamai, who is the Deputy Assistant of Student Affairs at the school.
She told the reporter that the event had occurred on the 10th January, and that having hair that short in school is something all parents and students know about when the child is enrolled, as the regulation is included in the school’s manual.
The regulation states a student’s hair cannot be longer than 9 inches from the top of the ear, and that students must wear a hair tie while in school if their hair is long enough to be held in a tie.
The student in question had been warned many times that her hair was too long, and that it needed to be cut. She had ignored the school’s directive.
Thus, her hair was cut by a school teacher in accordance with the school’s rules. The girl’s parents were then called to the school to discuss the situation.
Thailand’s strict school rules compared to more lax rules in the west
From a western perspective, many people do not understand why many Thai schools insist on their student’s hair being that short. Nor why a Thai teacher would cut the hair of a student against her will, and without permission from her parents.
As several westerners have commented on social media, in the west that could very well be classified as “assault”.
If you have spent any time in Thailand, however, you have to admit Thai students overall are far better behaved than many students in the west. They also cause less problems in school, particularly when compared to similarly aged students in the UK and the US.
That is why, as someone who attended western schools, have many friends that still teach in them, and have taught in Thai schools myself, I support the Thai school in their endeavors here.
Because the young girl that was forced to have her hair cut short at the Kanchanaburi school will hopefully learn, as you go through life and whether you like it or not, there are rules in many situations.
Rules that are often created to necessitate an orderly society, and with citizens that work towards everyone’s well-being and not just their own.
And, in certain situations, violating those rules could end up much worse for you than just an unwanted haircut.