Primary school teacher suspended in latest abuse incident

Zhang Chaoyan
A teacher in Xiangtan, a city in central China's Hunan Province is being investigated, while a mental health professional warns of the consquences of assaults on young pupils.
Zhang Chaoyan

A teacher in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, has been suspended after physically assaulting and verbally abusing students who couldn't answer questions, the city's education bureau said on Thursday. The school's headmaster was also removed from their position.

A video widely circulated on Wednesday showed a female teacher wearing a brown down jacket reprimanding a female student in an office.

After the student fails to answer her question, the teacher becomes visibly agitated and slaps the girl in the face. She then continues to scold the student with abusive words, saying: 'I'll beat you to death! Are you blind? Study, do you deserve to study?'"

Video footage shows the teacher beating students several times.

The teacher subsequently pinched the face of another boy who had come to hand in his homework, and pulled the previous girl's hair back and forth violently. She finally threw her book to the floor and barked at her: "You're such an idiot."

On Wednesday night, after a preliminary investigation, the Education Bureau of Xiangxiang, a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Xiangtan City, confirmed that there was indeed physical assault and verbal abuse by the teacher as shown in the video.

The bureau has temporarily suspended the teacher and an investigation is underway. Meanwhile, professionals have been arranged to provide psychological counseling for the students, the local education authority said.

The students involved are sixth-graders at a primary school in Lishan Town, Xiangxiang City, while the suspended teacher is their math teacher, according to the parents in the school's WeChat group.

Primary school teacher suspended in latest abuse incident

A teacher in white, identified as the girl's class teacher, joins the math teacher to scold the girl.

There have been frequent incidents of teachers physically assaulting students in recent years.

Last April, a viral video showed a male teacher repeatedly slapping a student in the face during class at a middle school in Xiaogan City of Hubei Province. In September the same year, two teachers at a school in Lanzhou City of Gansu Province were accused of suspected corporal punishment during a late-night dormitory inspection, where they suspected students of smoking and physically assaulted two students.

The cases of students being victims of teachers' physical and oral bullying mainly occur in primary and junior high schools where students' mentality has not been fully developed and their mental resilience is not strong enough, according to Zhang Ying, a national second-level psychological consultant based in Shanghai and specialized in mental health for adolescents.

"The students' self-esteem will take a large hit from the assaults, and more broadly, they may suffer from a lack of self-confidence, which can have a long-term negative impact on physical and mental development," said Zhang.

"Many of them may even struggle with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and human communication disorder in high school and college, or thereby drop out," she added.

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