Wed, Jul 01, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Parents spark row over Chen grandson

RESERVATION OF EDUCATION Posters on Bo Ai Elementary School’s online bulletin board say they don’t want their kids to go to the same school as ‘convicts’ children’

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Bo Ai Elementary School in Taipei said yesterday that it would not discriminate against any student, although several teachers and parents have voiced opposition to former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) grandson Chao Yi-an (趙翊安) being allowed to enroll at the school.

“Any child whose household record is registered within the district of the school is welcome to attend,” Wang Jen-yu (王壬佑), director-general of the school’s academic affairs department, told reporters.

“If Chao Yi-an enrolls in the school, the school authorities will ensure that administrative impartiality is maintained. We also hope that teachers will treat him the same as other students, without discrimination,” Wang said.

Chao Yi-an is the son of Chen’s daughter, Chen Hsing-yu (陳幸妤), and her husband, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘).

School principal Su Tsai-tien (蘇再添) said he respected the right of Chao’s parents to choose the best school for their son, adding that the school would welcome Chao Yi-an if his parents decided to bring him there.

The six-year-old Chao Yi-an has reached the minimum school age in accordance with the National Education Act (國民教育法) and is legally entitled to enroll in the school.

However, several users of the school’s online message board who identified themselves as teachers and parents whose children are pupils at the school voiced objections to the possibility of the boy’s enrollment.

“I have been worried that my child will make friends with bad classmates, but I feel relieved, because your school will serve as a gatekeeper,” a user with the screen name “a parent of a student” said.

“Children of corrupt convicts [sic] like Chao Yi-an should not be allowed to attend the school. I don’t want my child to go to the same school as convicts’ children,” the user said in a message posted last Thursday.

The school has issued a statement saying that it would never discriminate against students based on their sex or social, economic or political background.

Taipei City Councilor Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) yesterday confronted Taipei City Department of Education officials at the school, saying that Chao Yi-an’s registration notice had been mailed to the former president instead of his parents.

“I think you are deliberately ­giving them a hard time. Why did you send Chao Yi-an’s registration notice to a person [at the detention center] in Tucheng [土城]?” Chuang said.

In response, the officials said the notice should have been sent to Chao Yi-an’s parents, although the school usually mails such documents to the head of a household.

The officials promised to review the school’s procedure.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the boy should be spared the political wrangling of adults.

“Even if [his grandfather] made mistakes, the child is innocent,” Lo said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RICH CHANG

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