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Abusive kindergarten teachers kindle public furor

(Xinhua)

08:06, October 26, 2012

HANGZHOU, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Two female kindergarten teachers in east China's Zhejiang Province have been detained by police for pulling the ears of a student "for fun," according to a local government announcement made on Thursday.

The duo triggered public uproar after a picture showing one of the teachers, a woman surnamed Yan, holding up a male student by his ears was posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

The child in the picture was seen crying with his face twisted in pain. Yan, who was seen smiling in the image, reportedly said she did it "just for fun."

Other photos showing a child being placed upside-down in a trash can and another child whose mouth was sealed with adhesive tape were also uploaded by the two teachers.

According to the photo captions, the children were treated in this manner because they were "disobedient."

Yan was detained on suspicion of provoking a disturbance, said a statement issued by the publicity office of the Wenling municipal government.

The statement said another teacher surnamed Tong who took the pictures has been put under a seven-day administrative detention.

The Blue Peacock Kindergarten, where the incident happened, has been ordered to rectify its practices.

"Whether the kindergarten stays open or not will depend on how the rectification goes," the statement said.

Local education authorities have ordered the kindergarten's teachers to apologize to the parents of all of the students in the class in which the incident took place.

Psychologists have been arranged to talk to the children involved.

The incident has become a hot topic on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site, with the number of posts related to the topic reaching nearly 4 million thus far.

Netizens expressed anger and urged authorities to investigate the case and severely punish the teachers involved.

"What a beast! Have you no conscience? Don't you think you will have a child someday? Don't you think your child will also go to kindergarten? The photos were so heartbreaking," wrote Wenling resident Chen Yuhang on Sina Weibo.

The scandal came just a few days after a female teacher in north China's Shanxi Province slapped a five-year-old kindergarten girl in the face.

She was put under a 15-day administrative detention by police after a video of her hitting the girl repeatedly for more than 10 minutes was recorded by a surveillance camera and later released by local media.

"I don't think the cases are unique. We should reflect on these tragedies and education authorities should do something to avoid similar incidents from happening again," Chen wrote.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy head of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said preschool education has suffered from insufficient government spending, unqualified faculty and a lack of supervision.

Xiong said 800,000 qualified kindergarten teachers are needed to make up the deficiency.

"Without adequate teachers, kindergartens aren't able to recruit qualified ones," said Xiong.

Local media in Wenling reported that Yan is not a licensed teacher.

Chinese law stipulates that teachers are not allowed to exercise corporal punishment.

Yan's acts were an obvious violation of the law, Xiong said, adding that teachers should receive legal training in order to improve their sense of ethics.

He also suggested establishing a supervisory system to ensure a healthy and safe environment for children.

"We should create a stricter legal and systematic method to discipline teachers," he said.

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