Teacher accused of having students slap each other

Updated: 2011-12-19 16:36

By Yang Jie (chinadaily.com.cn)

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A school teacher in East China has been accused of instructing students to slap each other as punishment for their indiscipline, the (Nanjing) Modern Daily reported Monday.

Xiao Xue (a pseudonym), 9, is a student in grade two at the Oriental School in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province. Her uncle and guardian, Mr. Hu, found she had red marks on her face after coming home from school on the night of Dec 16.

Xiao Xue revealed what happened to her after being repeatedly questioned by Hu. She said she had been slapped by her deskmate, a boy, under the instruction of their teacher, Ms. Gu, for indiscipline. The girl couldn't recall how many times she was slapped, but said the slapping didn't stop until she felt her face was burning.

Hu called and argued with Ms. Gu, who admitted her wrongdoings on the phone but insisted she did it for the good of the students. After reporting the incident to school authorities, Hu received an apology from Ms. Gu, who visited Hu's house along with school administrators on the night of Dec 17.

Hu has stopped Xiao Xue from going to school for fear of psychological trauma and added his niece isn't the only victim.

Ms. Gu acknowledged that she committed some misdeeds when reached by a Modern Daily reporter, but said she "did't beat them personally" to preemptively rid herself of the possible accusation of inflicting corporal punishment on the students. She denied the alleged slapping, although the reporter received confirmation feedback from other students who attend the Oriental School.

"We are ashamed of the incident and I myself can't accept it either," said Shi Yongju, the school's headmaster, adding it's the first complaint of its kind against the school and Ms. Gu, who has been working at the school for three semesters. Shi said Gu has been suspended from teaching.

Shi didn't give a specific figure as to how many students suffered from the alleged slapping, but disclosed the school has taken three students who have had similar red marks on their faces to the hospital for detailed examination. Professional psychological counselors have also been asked to help the affected students.

Qian Chunying, an official with the local education bureau, said the alleged slapping is a disguise for corporal punishment, which is against the law. The bureau has ordered the school to step up ethics education for teachers and threatened to revoke the school's license if the incident isn't properly dealt with.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education published on its website the draft standards for kindergarten, primary school and middle school teachers, and solicited public comment on them.

The draft emphasizes that teachers should always be student-oriented and never satirize, ridicule, discriminate or resort to corporal punishment in any form.