Miaoli County Government approved a proposal on Friday to fire three elementary-school teachers after they were found to have extracted confessions from their students under duress.
Liu Huo-chin (劉火欽), chief of the county government’s education bureau, said the three teachers, surnamed Chang (張), Wang (王) and Lin (林), “tried” students who were suspected of perceived infringements for hours, by means of “near coercion.”
Liu said their actions possibly violated the students’ rights to education, their personal freedom, involved possible criminal acts and certainly went beyond teachers’ rights to discipline students.
The three teachers, members of a group of seven female teachers who call themselves the “Magic Party,” were accused of locking a male student in a classroom and forcing him to write a confession when they suspected him of peeping at one of their clique while she was breastfeeding her child.
Local media reported that the student was kept in the classroom for five hours.
In another case, the teachers were reported to have kept a female student in a classroom for three hours and even forced her to take a written polygraph test when they suspected her of having an intimate relationship with a male teacher from the same school.
The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported last month that members of the clique have also been accused of speaking to students in an inappropriate manner and of “bullying” students, parents and fellow teachers.
Eleven fifth-graders transferred to other schools this semester because they did not want to be in the seven teachers’ classes, it reported.
The school’s principal,Yu Hui-ju (游惠茹), said a board of 15 people comprising herself, teachers and a parent representative voted on Oct. 23 to reach the proposal to expel the three from the faculty.
Chen Chih-hsueh (陳志學), who represented parents at the meeting, said the decision to fire the teachers was “reasonable” and “should have been taken a long time ago.”
He said he hopes the teachers’ departure will help students return to a normal learning environment and ensure teachers focus on teaching.