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Teachers Fired for Child Assault

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Two kindergarten teachers in Daxing district have been fired after a video emerged online showing them abusing a 4-year-old boy.

The video appeared on the Internet on Tuesday afternoon entitled "Teachers at Daxing district No 1 kindergarten beating a student".

During the five-minute video, a woman pulls the 4-year-old boy's ears and shakes his body hard before another woman kicks his body and legs. Eventually, the two women make another 4-year-old boy join in the attack and beat his classmate. During the video, crying is heard constantly.

After a few days of investigation, officials from the Daxing district education commission confirmed on Saturday afternoon that the video was genuine, according to Beijing Youth Daily.

The beating happened at 9:45 am on Nov 12 after two boys had fought at the kindergarten, the paper said. One of the toddlers had reportedly scratched the other's face. The education commission said the teachers beat the boy after he refused to apologize.

"The two teachers appeared irrational and treated the boy roughly," said the deputy head of the Daxing district education commission in an interview with Beijing News. "We think it is insulting and it could very well have caused both physical and psychological damage to the boy."

In addition to being dismissed by the kindergarten, the two teachers and the head of the kindergarten were all told to apologize to the boy and his family. The head of the kindergarten has also been asked to write a letter analyzing what went wrong.

Officials with the commission said any other adults found responsible for the situation will be punished.

The mother of the 4-year-old boy said she is considering transferring her son to another school.

"My son is fine at home. We will consider finding him another kindergarten soon," she told Beijing Youth Daily. The mother said she was satisfied with the way the education authorities had handled the situation.

Discussion online has been heated.

"It is quite normal for children to be naughty and fight with each other," wrote one netizen. "How could the teachers treat such a small child so roughly and even encourage the other boy to take revenge?"

Some wondered who was responsible for taking the video and wondered why that person did not step forward to stop what was happening.

The case prompted others to call for changes that would make it harder for such a thing to happen in future.

"The education commission could install hidden cameras in all kindergartens in Daxing district so that our children are completely free from possible abuses by the teachers," said a netizen whose child also attends the Daxing district No 1 kindergarten.

Experts, though, thought the idea was not feasible.

"Hidden cameras would raise standards for sure but it would just be a passive response," said Sun Hongyan, head of the institute of children at China Youth and Children Research Center, in an earlier interview with People's Daily.

Sun said cameras would end up making teachers and children feel stressful because they would be aware that they were being monitored continuously.

"Raising both the professional quality of teachers and the standard of kindergarten management are the keys to solving this problem."

(China Daily November 29, 2010)

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