Sat, Dec 25, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Education ministry calls principal conference

By Flora Wang  /  Staff Reporter

In the wake of increasing media coverage of bullying on campuses, the Ministry of Education yesterday invited 500 high school and vocational high school principals to deliberate anti-bullying measures.

During the ministry’s conference, Minister of Education Wu Ching-ji (吳清基) urged the principals not to give up on any student and to establish more channels for students or teachers to report incidents of bullying.

Wu also vowed not to relax the ministry’s “zero corporal punishment” policy despite growing calls for the use of physical punishment to deter bullying in schools.

Wu said if the ministry relaxes the corporal punishment policy students would be sent the wrong message — that violence is sometimes appropriate.

He said the ministry would consider giving teachers more disciplinary power, but the ministry’s firm stance is that there will be no infliction of physical pain on campuses.

When questioned by reporters on the event’s sideline, Wu said all students are “teachable,” and added that schools should make more of an effort to help students understand the legal responsibility they shoulder if they hurt others.

The minister has been bombarded with criticism as more reports of school violence between students, and between students and teachers, surfaced.

The issue began to gain momentum when 62 teachers of Taoyuan’s Bade Junior High School initiated a petition calling for the replacement of the school’s principal for allegedly ignoring bullying on campus.

The principal was later suspended pending investigation, while the case and other reports of bullying prompted the Executive Yuan to order that the ministry propose specific anti-bullying measures.

At a separate setting yesterday, Central Police University’s Department of Crime Prevention and Corrections professor Deng Huang-fa (鄧煌發), who specializes in juvenile crime prevention, said teachers should be given more disciplinary power.

Deng said he believes it is necessary to grant teachers adequate power to discipline students instead of accusing teachers of resorting to excessive or corporal punishment every time a student is disciplined.

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