Despite a mother’s claim that a boy had bullied her daughter at Taipei Municipal Dunhua Junior High School, a probe by the Taipei City Government’s Educational Department and school authorities declared on Friday that it had been just a simple misunderstanding.
Last month, the mother of a student, surnamed Chiang (江), spent about NT$1 million (US$33,390) in newspaper advertisements accusing a male student of bullying her daughter.
The school subsequently convened its own committee to look into the matter.
Wang Mei-en (王美恩), a member of the committee, told a press conference on Friday that the incident was found to be atypical of most schoolyard bullying cases and that the committee had voted 11 to 0 against making the case an official bullying investigation.
Chiang had clashed verbally with the defendant on the Internet, as well as in the schoolyard, and the clashes suggested she did not fit the image of the long-term disadvantaged student usually found in bullying cases, Wang said.
She added that the school concluded that the students lacked social relationship skills, and the solution was for them to receive counseling on such skills.
Chiang’s mother said she found the verdict unacceptable.
She said it was only normal for her daughter to retaliate when she could no longer take the bullying, adding that when the committee used her daughter’s Facebook responses last year as evidence, it was rubbing salt on wounds that were still raw.
The school is only trying to cover things up, Chiang’s mother said, adding that she believed the school would not help unless the matter reached the scale of the Hung incident, referring to the death of an army corporal who allegedly died from physical punishment in intense heat.
Despite the school’s assurances to Chiang’s parents that they would be able to apply for a second investigation within 20 days of receiving formal notice, Chiang’s mother said she may proceed directly to court.
“We will be discussing the matter with our lawyer next week and we are not ruling out the possibility of suing the [alleged] defendant,” Chiang’s mother said, despite expressing concern that her daughter may be harmed further by the proceeding.
Chiang’s mother said she would forgive the boy if he offered a public apology, adding that she was not asking that he be transferred to another class for fear of him finding fresh bullying victims.
Meanwhile, school principal Kao Min-hui (高敏慧) said that the school was on top of the situation and she was sorry Chiang’s mother was unable to accept the outcome.
She added that the school would seek to prevent future incidents by providing one-on-one consultation for students.
The parents of the alleged defendant made a statement through the school that they respected the results of the investigation and declined media interviews.