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Stressed out student sets school on fire

Bangkok police say that a high school student who was stressed out at his prestigious boarding school, but whose parents would not let him leave, drenched the ground floor of the institution’s library with gasoline and set it on fire.

The Associated Press reports that the 16-year-old boy was having trouble integrating into the competition culture of the Mahidol Wittayanuscorn school in Nakhon Pathom province and set the library on fire, causing some $4 million in damage.

The Matichon newspaper quoted the teen as saying that he copied behavior he had seen on television when he saw images of protesters setting fire to buildings in Bangkok following a military crackdown on anti-government demonstrators in May.

According to Thai PBS Television, the student’s grades had slipped as his parents put pressure on him to get into a top medical school. He wanted to leave but was not permitted to return home.

Mahidol Wittayanusorn is one of a few specialized science high schools in Thailand, where students can start their medical degree right out of high school, and is closely associated with one of the best medical schools in the country.

The boy has not been charged, at least not yet, and is being evaluated by psychologists, the AP said.

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By Valerie Strauss  |  June 7, 2010; 9:29 AM ET
Categories:  school pressure  | Tags: boy sets school on fire, school fire  
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This article is bringing back memories - mid to late 70s? - when Japan's high-stakes education system was cited for causing a number of student suicides.

While there have been a lot of stories on standards, standards, testing and more testing,we have yet to raise the issue of what all this may due to the student psyche.

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | June 7, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

And how many times do we read that we need to increase the science and math our students take, we need a longer school day, we need a longer school year, because that's the way Asia does it? Do we really want to copy ALL aspects of Asia's educational system, including the effects on students?

Posted by: sideswiththekids | June 8, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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