Losing sleep over lunch break: School under fire for afternoon nap charges
A primary school in Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province, has come under fire for reportedly charging students a minimum of 200 yuan (US$27.44) per semester for allowing them to take a nap during the afternoon lunch break.
A screenshot, widely circulated online on Monday, shows a WeChat account of "Teacher Lin" posting a message in a WeChat group listing the prices for different types of afternoon nap services.
According to the screenshot, sleeping at the desk and sleeping on a mat entailed charges of 200 yuan and 360 yuan per semester, respectively, while students need to pay 680 yuan a semester to own a bed in a special nap room. But this is all voluntary, it says.
The case topped the online trending topic charts, with the relevant hashtag amassing 1.7 million views on the Twitter-like platform Weibo.
Many netizens blamed the school for the unreasonable charges. "Do our children need a teacher to watch over their nap? Are you comfortable being stared at while sleeping? Why charge money? Is the school so poor that it has gone insane?" some of the posts read.
One of the school staff responded on Tuesday, noting that the fee was charged based on a relevant public document, according to which the school had arranged teachers to guide and take care of students during the lunch nap, Chongqing-based media outlet Shangyou News reported.
"Students can also go home for the nap," the staff added.
Dongguan's government service hotline 12345 confirmed that a document titled "Notice on Promoting School Lunch Break Service for Primary and Secondary School Students in Dongguan", launched by the Dongguan Education Bureau in 2019, mentions that "the nap services on campus are charged on a voluntary basis at 2 yuan per day".
A working group has been sent to the school to conduct an on-site investigation of the case, according to the Dongguan Education Bureau.
"If any illegal charges for afternoon naps are found, we will join hands with relevant departments to investigate and punish the school in accordance with the law," the local education authority said.