CHINA / SOCIETY
Headmaster dismissed after bullying case
Published: Jan 07, 2021 12:00 AM

Video screenshot from Sina Weibo

The headmaster of a secondary school in North China was dismissed from his post this week after a bullying case took place among his students, drawing public praise for the serious attitude of the local education authority toward school bullying.

The headmaster was fired and not given any other posts at the school, the education and sports bureau in Yu county, North China's Hebei Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"He deserves the penalty," said an official with the bureau. "As the school's then headmaster, he was the responsible in the bullying case, which was to some extent caused by his neglect of duty."

Earlier, a video clip of three teenage girls taking turns slapping another girl in the face sparked public anger on Chinese social media. The girls in the video, which was later deleted, were found to be students at Nanliuzhuang secondary school, where many students are reportedly local left-behind children whose parents are working away from home.

Instead of arresting the three bullies, local police ordered the school and guardians to educate and discipline them, as they are aged under 16, the county's information office said on Tuesday.

The local authority's fast response to the case reflects Chinese society's stricter attitude toward school bullying, education industry insiders said. Last month, the Ministry of Education announced on its website that it was cooperating with the national legislature in amending China's Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency Law, bringing the student bullying issue under legal restraint.

Removing a headmaster from office is a prompt move, but it is far from fundamentally solving the long-standing problem of school bullying, said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute.

"It may lead to more school administrators covering up bullying cases for fear of being punished," Xiong told the Global Times Wednesday.

A better way to deal with school bullying, Xiong said, is to enhance education about laws and regulations for students, and to report it to the police when bullying happens. "Schools can also establish a committee to investigate bullying cases, giving the bullies punishment based on the investigation results," he said.
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