A teacher at Greater Taichung’s National Cingshuei Senior High School might have made a national educational history after he was told to write a book report — something usually reserved for wayward school children — as a disciplinary measure after alleged sexual harassment of a female colleague.
The head of the school’s office of academic affairs Chai Chia-fu (翟家甫) had been accused of sexual harassment by one of his female colleagues.
Chai, 44, who is married, had called his colleague to join him for lunch on Dec. 13 last year. When she arrived, Chai put his hand on her shoulder and told the others in the restaurant that she “is my little sister,” she said.
The teacher said that at the time their school’s office of general affairs was investigating whether a case she had handled benefited certain parties, and Chai asked her about it during the lunch.
The female teacher said that after the two parted ways following lunch, Chai called her to say that the case she was handling was too complex, and he had not been able to get all the details during lunch, and asked her whether she was able to meet him at a different location to discuss the issue further.
The teacher said she did not go to the meeting, but later received a text message on her cellphone from Chai that read “Nesseur 613.” After asking a gas station employee, she found out that it was a reference to room 613 in the Nesseur Spa Leisure Hotel in Fongyuan District (豐原) in Greater Taichung.
The teacher said she suspected that Chai had texted her the room number because he had intended to use the situation for “other intentions.”
In his defense, Chai said he was drunk at the time when the teacher wanted to talk about the issue, and he told her to speak about it at another time.
Chai said he had called the teacher after lunch because he wanted to ask where she was and whether she was able to drive, adding that he had texted her the room number because he had gone there to rest and was afraid something might happen to him, as he was very drunk.
Meanwhile, an investigative team and sexual harassment complaints committee — which the school had outsourced to an agency — said that while Chai’s actions were improper, they did not meet the legal definition of sexual harassment.
The committee said its decision was based on the fact that the female teacher had “felt that it was improper” for Chai to put his hands on her shoulder, but it was “still acceptable.” Aside from that, after receiving the text the teacher had not experienced negative emotions related to sexual harassment, it said.
While the appellation of “little sister” might connote a debasement of the abilities of females, it did not constitute sexual harassment, the committee said.
However, it said that Chai “had a below-average conception of gender sensitivity and rights” and suggested that the school give him a demerit and had him write a report of 2,000 words after reading the book Sexual Dimensions and Taiwanese Society (性別向度與台灣社會).
Finding the committee’s decision unacceptable, the female teacher said she made an appeal to the Ministry of Education’s Central Region Office, adding that she was emotionally traumatized and mentally and physically exhausted over the issue and is currently taking leave from her duties.
Central Region Office director Lan Shun-teh (藍順德) said the office has yet to fully acquaint itself with the complaint, adding that the case would be processed in due time and in accordance with the law.