School Official Threatens Students to Buy His Wife’s Snacks

2 min read
Wat Thmey primary school in Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach district. (Uch Chhuon)
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Parents and local officials are up in arms over a Kampong Chhnang school deputy director’s repeated attempts to threaten and force students to buy snacks from his wife’s stall and not others.

Poch Sary is the deputy director of Wat Thmey primary school in Kampong Chhnang’s Kampong Tralach district and is being accused by parents of forcing children to buy his wife’s wares and threatening to hit them if they frequent other vendors.

Chem Borey, the mother of a first-grade student at the school, said Sary was threatening students if they were going to other food stalls, instead asking them to buy from his wife who was selling food inside the school compound.

The deputy director told students they shouldn’t come to study at the school if they weren’t picking his wife’s food items, Borey added. He would make students use an exit that was busy with traffic if they wanted to buy food from outside the school, blocking a gate nearer to the vendors.

“If the threats only happened in his own class then maybe I wouldn’t have said anything but he threatened all classes even though the director had explained to him but he still isn’t afraid of anyone,” Borey said.

Sary did not respond to repeated requests for comment from reporters.

Local officials were open about the deputy director’s behavior and his unwillingness to listen to change his actions.

Svay Sim, Ta Ches commune chief, said she was aware of the complaints against Sary and had intervened on multiple occasions. But Sary was reluctant to listen.

“My role is over because I helped as much as I could and I did this for all the people who are the owners of votes, but the teacher still did not agree and all these issues were also reported to the department of education,” Sim said.

Uch Chhuon, the first deputy chief of the commune, said the deputy director had been told twice this year — once in January and then in February — to change his ways but Sary refused to comply with the department of education’s warnings.

School director Hun Heak, however, initially claimed to not know of his deputy’s actions and was quick to say that the selling of food inside the school premises was prohibited, and that Sary’s wife was not allowed inside the school since health guidelines were released to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

“Regarding the threats, I don’t know a lot about it, but if I do know about it I know it from the people because it affects the community,” Heak said.

This article was originally published on CJ News as part of VOD’s citizen journalists program.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the school’s province in the first paragraph.

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