No Expulsion Order, Says Education Minister
Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong clarified on Wednesday that a 15-year-old girl, who was released on May 18 after being detained for 51 days on a charge of royal defamation, had not been expelled from school. This clarification came in response to the girl’s Facebook post, in which she claimed that she had been expelled and was now “an outsider”.
Ms. Trinuch said the school director informed her that no instruction had been issued to expel Thanalop “Yok” Phalanchai.
Teenager’s Allegations of Questioning and Confinement
According to Yok, she had been questioned by two deputy school directors and teachers, who refused her request to call her parents and record the conversation. She claimed they blocked all the exits to the room, forcing her to crawl under a table to escape. The teenager also alleged that a deputy school director told her the school would return her tuition fees.
Yok’s Fight for Rights and Freedom
In her Facebook posts, Yok explained that she had dyed her hair, embraced a “modern” haircut, and worn casual clothes to school for weeks, portraying this as a fight for her freedom and rights. She also called on the Education Ministry to improve the school curriculum to meet international standards.
Yok’s posts attracted the attention of netizens, some of whom criticized her and encouraged her to respect school rules.
School Welcomes Yok to Attend Classes
The Education Minister stated that the school had assured her that Yok is welcome to attend classes as usual. However, she also commented on the student’s decision to ignore the rules on mandatory school uniforms, stating that “Yok wears casual outfits to school and claims that is her right and her freedom, but we need to respect the system and regulations of each school, as well as the way society is organized on a bigger level.” She emphasized that this is the basic norm students should be aware of.
Background on Yok’s Arrest and Detention
Yok was arrested on March 28, the same day a 24-year-old man was caught spray-painting a “No 112” message on the wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. Police had a warrant to arrest Yok, accusing her of insulting the monarchy during a rally in October 2022 in front of City Hall when she was 14 years old. She was released from the Ban Pranee Juvenile Vocational Training Center for Girls in Nakhon Pathom on May 18, where she had been held since March 29.