In three Muslim-majority provinces of Thailand, Buddhist teachers are coming under attack from Islamic terrorists. So teachers are getting their own guns to defend themselves and their students. In July, a teacher was murdered at his blackboard as his 4th graders watched; a Buddhist art teacher was clubbed by a village mob in May.
Teachers may be targets, officials say, because they are symbols of the central government’s authority, or be taken hostage to be traded for captured insurgents, or because the militants want to do away with secular schools, sending the message that only Islamic schools — which have been spared violence — are safe.
“Nearly 300 schools and teachers have been targeted — mostly arson, bomb attacks and shooting at guarded teacher convoys going to and from school” in southern Thailand. One elementary school principal in a weapons training class says she owns shotguns but wants a revolver so she can drive with one hand and shoot with the other.