Teacher detained and punished after student’s death

A primary schoolteacher whose student jumped to her death after her class in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, was given serious warnings from the Party on Wednesday for her misconduct.

The teacher, Yuan Dengmei, was accused by the student’s parents of insulting their daughter during a writing class, which led to the girl jumping to her death from the fourth floor of a school building on June 4.

Yuan was also found to be running private writing classes after school for profit and violating the work ethics of teachers. She has been demoted from her current post at the Hebin Elementary School in the city’s Jintan district, and all her illegal earnings from the writing classes will be confiscated, according to the district’s educational bureau.

The student, 10-year-old Miao Kexin, was an optimistic fifth grader, according to her parents. Miao’s mother applied for a new account on the microblogging service Sina Weibo after her daughter’s death, which was named “Miao Kexin the world’s cutest”, to express their suspicions over Yuan’s behaviour.

Yuan was accused of criticising one of Miao’s essays, saying it lacked “positive energy” and deleting large chunks of descriptive writing in it without giving reasons or advice for the revisions.

The parents claimed that their only child, who went to school with joy that day, would never have committed suicide if Yuan had not abused her. They demanded a thorough investigation of the girl’s death.

However, investigations launched by local educational authorities showed that Yuan did not insult Miao before her suicide, though she had twice urged her to rewrite the essay.

They drew the conclusion after investigating three teachers, 45 students and six parents, and writing a 115-page report.

But Yuan admitted in a written explanation that she slapped Miao’s face in October after finding she missed some homework and didn’t perform well academically.

Some former students of Yuan’s who had already graduated from the school reported online about how they were verbally and physically abused by Yuan years ago.

“She insulted me frequently, even if I didn’t make any mistakes,” wrote Feng Hongwei, 26, one of Yuan’s former students. “She took off my pants and spanked me once. One of her colleagues also witnessed that she poured tea on my face. It still hurts me deeply though many years have passed.”

Feng co-operated with the investigation team, which contacted him after he posted his experience on the internet. Other students also claimed that Yuan once threw books at their faces, slapped them and pinched their eyelids.

The principal of the school, surnamed Li, said that the school will strengthen safety education, and lectures will be given to tell the students how precious their lives are.

The health commission of Jintan district has offered psychological counseling to all the teachers and Miao’s classmates.