Hsinchu Kuang Fu High School principal Cheng Hsiao-ming (程曉銘) yesterday resigned over the outrage caused by a cosplay event at the school on Friday, when some students wore Nazi uniforms and carried swastika banners.
In his letter of resignation, Cheng apologized to the public as well as to the victims of the Nazi regime for the disturbance and the anxiety caused by the parade.
Cheng said the school will today present a list of personnel accountable for the incident, including the administrators and homeroom instructor Liu Hsi-cheng (劉習正).
The list would not include students, the school said.
Cheng said that he should resign and be held responsible for the incident, adding that he will accept any punishment handed down by the Ministry of Education.
The school would be temporarily managed by Huang Duen-huang (黃敦煌), the school’s academic affairs director.
Prior to the incident, the school had already decided that Cheng would be succeeded by Huang in February, the school said, adding that the board asked Cheng to step down early to limit the damage caused by the incident.
Cheng said that the school would take steps to address the error, adding that it would reinforce the education of the issues manifested through the cosplay event, including the pains inflicted upon the victims of Nazi Germany and the symbols representing the regime.
Although students should be encouraged to be creative, it is equally important they be taught to respect all parties that might be affected by their work and sympathize with them, he said.
The school will hold a series of educational activities, including showing films such as Schindler’s List and Life is Beautiful, Cheng said, adding that officials from the Israel Economic and Culture Office would be invited to speak with the students.
In addition to thanking the office for providing educational resources, Cheng said he would continue teaching after his resignation is approved by the school board and dedicate himself to the education of important historical events.
He called on the public not to be too harsh on the school’s teachers and students, as they have been under tremendous pressure because of the incident and have learned a valuable lesson from it.
Liu said he had suggested the students make Arabic culture a theme for the parade on historical figures, but they decided to go with Adolf Hitler after two rounds of voting.
He said he had told the students that the theme would be very controversial, but added that he chose to respect the students’ decision and did not veto it, which he said was his biggest mistake.
Some students said they thought their creativity would make them the focus of the parade, adding that Hitler being responsible for the death of millions of innocent people had not crossed their minds.
Others said they chose Hitler because they could easily convert their school uniforms into Nazi uniforms by making minor changes, which meets the criteria for a cosplay event.
Asked if the school has a say in the themes chosen by the students, the school administration said that students would only be told that the themes should not involve blood or violence, adding that students would often reveal limited details to teachers as they considered the “result of their creativity” top secret.