Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taitung students admit to bullying

By Huang Ming-tang and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Family and relatives of a student at a junior-high school in Taitung County on Monday accused school officials and teachers of negligence by disregarding persistent bullying by students against a classmate over his physical disability.

According to the student’s family, the student was frequently bullied by three male classmates.

“My nephew has a disability and cannot move well. Three boys in his class have been bullying him and slapping his face for a year. They humiliate him by calling him a ‘cripple,’” an uncle of the student said.

“Sometimes they put a Boy Scout rope around his neck like it was a dog leash,” the uncle said at a meeting called by the school on Monday, at which parents of the four students involved were present. “We told the homeroom teacher many times, but nothing was done. The bullying continued. He was slapped again on Friday last week.”

The uncle said that it was a bitter irony the school recently received praise from the government after receiving an “A grade” rating for its special education program.

The family of the bullied student asked that action be taken to stop the abuse, demanding that two of the three students — who they accused of the most serious and persistent bullying — be transferred out of the school or else they would seek redress through legal action.

During the meeting, the three students admitted to the behavior as reported, although one student’s grandmother said: “[The bullying] was not so serious. It’s not like he was killing people or burning down buildings.”

The homeroom teacher said he had not ignored the situation and had reprimanded the three students, but this had no effect.

School officials said they could not demand that a student transfer to a new school, and as all three had said they regretted their actions, the lesson had been learned.

The officials said they hoped that the classmates would get on from now on.

Meanwhile, it was reported that parents of a female student in the same class had applied to transfer their daughter to another school after she was allegedly bullied by having her face slapped by a female classmate.

Taitung County Education Department director Lin Hui-huang (林輝煌) said he only learned on Monday of the bullying at the school and said his agency would send a school inspector to the campus to conduct an investigation.

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