Last week, a physical-education teacher in Chongzhou, Sichuan, attacked one of his high-school students severely enough to land the student in the hospital. The student's mother, the teacher, and the school are now engaged in a conflict with the mother seeking compensation of RMB100,000.
Chongzhou (崇州), population 650,000, lies approximately 40 kilometers west of Chengdu.
The full story, from China.com.cn (our translation):
After Cheng Cheng's teacher scolded him because he said he didn't want to go to school, the student turned around to leave, leading his teacher to "teach him a lesson" yesterday (August 5). The school has issued an apology to Cheng Cheng's mother, but she has put forth a request for a RMB100,000 compensation for damages due to emotional distress. "Now my baby totally refuses to go to school." Cheng Cheng's mother, Ms. Zhang, said that not only has the boy been physically injured, he has also been traumatized. "In case we're unable to settle this, the matter will be in the hands of the law."
School director Mr. Li said that the school has suspended the teacher in question. Regarding the RMB100,000 compensation for the parent, Li indicated that the school will attempt to resolve the matter through negotiation but that such an amount of money is out of the question.
Chongzhou boy's "I don't want to go to school" provokes teacher to beat him behind closed doors
Student: As soon as he closed the door, he attacked me
With a cracked and swollen lip, a bruised left eye, two gashes on his neck, and scabs on his hand, Cheng Cheng (name has been changed) lies on his hospital bed. With the injuries to his mouth, he's unable to speak loudly. Three of his teachers sit by his side along with two classmates.
Cheng Cheng said he and his classmate Xiao Liao are both first-year high-school students at one of Chengdu's trade schools. The morning third-period class had just started when he received a phone notification of his overdue tuition fees. The third and fourth periods are both multimedia courses, and because he was afraid that their being late to class would earn them a scolding from the teacher, Cheng Cheng and Xiao Liao hung around the classroom until the fourth period was starting. Xiao Liao said that originally they were going to ask for the period off, but they didn't have the teacher's phone number, and they couldn't have a classmate ask for them. At noon, while the pair were eating lunch, they got word that the teacher requested their presence in the office immediately after their meal. At 1 o'clock or so, the two went to the office.
Mr. Zhou, the teacher, said that the students had already been late before lunch period twice, and this time they cut class. According to school regulations in such a case, either a parent could be called or the palm of the student's hand hit 10 times. The latter was implemented. After receiving his punishment, Xiao Liao stepped to the side. Cheng Cheng started receiving his punishment, but after only three beatings, he muttered "I don't want to go to school" and turned around to head to his dormitory. The teacher followed, pulling Cheng Cheng back into the office.
"As soon as he closed the door, he started beating me." Cheng Cheng said the teacher threw him onto the ground and kicked him four or five times, stopping only when he saw blood coming out his mouth. "While he was attacking me I tried to get up but couldn't. My hands were shaking and my whole body hurt." Soon after, Cheng Cheng was taken by school employees to the Wuhou District People's Hospital emergency room. He said that at the time of the beating, there were four other teachers present, yet none of them stepped forward to interfere.
Teacher: I shouldn't have acted so impulsively
At the hospital, school director Li said that immediately after he had heard what had happened, he organized people to take Cheng Cheng to the hospital along with two teachers to watch over him. Among them was Mr. Zhou.
Mr. Zhou is 32 this year and has seven years of education experience under his belt. At this school, he's been a physical-education teacher for nearly two years.
"Those two had not come to class third period." Mr. Zhou said that after only one week of starting at this school, Cheng Cheng had already started missing class. "He always said that he had something else he had to do." Mr. Zhou said that because he usually couldn't leave the school, Cheng Cheng would stroll around campus, ducking away when he saw a teacher. "After he came to this school, I spoke with him [in attempts to correct the student's behavior] no fewer than 10 times."
Mr. Zhou explained that on the afternoon he called Cheng Cheng to the office, no matter with what words or how nicely he spoke, Cheng Cheng just wouldn't listen. "I was at my wit's end, and what did he say? 'Old man, I won't go to school, what are you gonna do about it?'" When Cheng Cheng turned to leave, Mr. Zhou grabbed ahold of him. Mr. Zhou said that he only shoved the student, and also at at the time the door was not closed.
"And now this [mother saying] 'baby' and 'who would dare kick [him]'?" He said this time the student had really crossed the line. But he expresses regret toward his own conduct: "I shouldn't have acted so impulsively."
Parent: If all is not resolved, he won't continue his studies here
Cheng Cheng and Xiao Liao are 16 this year. They're both from Chongzhou. After the incident, Cheng Cheng has even less desire to go to school. Xiao Liao has also stated his desire to quit his studies because "the school is too severe." But he also acknowledges his past wrongdoings.
At around 5 in the afternoon, Cheng Cheng's mother, Ms. Zhang, arrived at the hospital. She said Mr. Zhou had already personally apologized. Her son certainly does his share of horsing around, she explained, but he doesn't have any other serious shortcomings. When she enrolled him in this school, she understood that its policies were very strict. She said, "My baby made some mistakes. Using a whip to hit his hand a few times is fine, but even if he repeatedly doesn't listen, how can you shut the door and beat him like this?"
Ms. Zhang stated that her priority is to nurse her son back to health, and then discuss the matter over again with the intention of seeking monetary compensation from the school. "If the school cannot settle the dispute, then he won't attend class." As to Cheng Cheng's stated desire to quit his studies, she said her son had not yet brought it up with her.
School: Closing the door and beating students is impossible
Regarding the students' statement that the door was closed during the beating, Director Li said absolutely not "in as much as there were other teachers in the room." He said after the incident occurred, the school handled the matter swiftly, notifying the parent and seeing that the teacher was dealt with.
Mr. Li said that Mr. Zhou had always been one of the school's top teachers. He believes that what is or isn't good for a student is subjective but "as for the teacher, he shouldn't have done that; the soundness of his methods were lacking." He explained that at weekly meetings teachers receive reminders that they are not allowed to inflict corporal punishment on students. After the student has recovered, the school will hold a meeting to discuss the fate of Mr. Zhou. He explained that if the student really does want to quit his studies, he can. The parent will need to go through the process of unenrolling the student, but that nevertheless discipline policies must be observed in schools.