Kindergarten closed after teacher caught slapping her students

Updated: 2012-10-24 08:14

By An Baijie in Beijing and Sun Ruisheng in Taiyuan (China Daily)

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Kindergarten closed after teacher caught slapping her students

An unlicensed kindergarten has been shut down by authorities after surveillance footage emerged of a teacher repeatedly slapping children in her class.

According to parents of students at Blue Sky Mengtesuoli Kindergarten in Taiyuan, capital of North China's Shanxi province, Li Zhuqing had been caught on camera several times since September abusing her young students.

The kindergarten was closed last week and all 43 students have been sent to other preschools nearby, Tian Xiaozhen, director of preschool education at Taiyuan education bureau, said on Tuesday.

Metro 110, a news show on Shanxi Science and Education Television Station, recently aired 30 minutes of footage recorded during a class at the school on Oct 15.

It showed a female teacher slapping three children, including a 5-year-old girl who was struck almost 70 times.

Seven children were in the class at the time, and the footage appears to show the student being punished for failing to calculate 10 plus 1.

The physical attack caused injuries to the girl's eyes, the father of the 5-year-old, surnamed Han, told Metro 110.

"The teacher slapped my child in the face and kicked her twice in the bottom," Han said, adding that he had seen similar footage dating back to September.

Li Chunhua, the preschool's owner, did not answer her cellphone on Tuesday.

However, in a text message reply to China Daily, she said the school had sacked the teacher after parents lodged a complaint on Oct 16.

"Police have taken her (Li Zhuqing) into custody and the case is under investigation," she wrote, adding that the 5-year-old girl's father has demanded 500,000 yuan ($79,980) in compensation.

Xinhua News Agency also reported on Tuesday that the teacher had been detained. A spokeswoman for Taiyuan public security bureau declined to comment when contacted by China Daily.

Tian at the city's education bureau said the authority has initiated a thorough check to find unlicensed kindergartens.

"We found more than 200 unlicensed kindergartens during a check at the end of last year," she said. "We shut down illegal kindergartens at that time but many simply reopened afterward."

When asked why Li Chunhua had not been detained for running an unlicensed preschool, Tian said that her authority does not have the power to arrest rule breakers and relies on cooperation with the police.

Wang Shuhong, deputy director of the bureau, said there are not enough legal kindergartens in the city, and some parents have to send their children to unlicensed ones.

The government is going to train teachers about professional ethics to avoid any more violence toward children in class, he said.

The teacher's violence toward the children triggered fierce criticism among netizens, with many people condemning the violence on Sina Weibo, a micro-blogging website, on Tuesday.

Lu Haifeng, a 35-year-old resident in Taiyuan, said he was worried about the safety of his son after seeing the reports about the teacher's violence.

"The violence will definitely cast shadows on the souls of the children, making them reluctant to go to school in the future," he said. "The education authorities should be responsible for the incident."

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(China Daily 10/24/2012 page5)