Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Critics enraged that lip bites are alright for teacher-student contact in Taoyuan

INAPPROPRIATE:After a tour guide filmed a married, 34-year-old teacher apparently kissing a sixth-grade girl, the educator received nothing more than reprimands

By Chou Min-hung, Chiu Yi-tong and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

A Taoyuan County elementary school was criticized for what critics call letting a male teacher off the hook with an insufficient penalty after he was filmed appearing to kiss and fondle a female sixth-grade student.

The incidents reportedly occurred on a field trip for the graduating Grade 6 classes in November last year, when a tour guide surnamed Peng (彭) from the travel agency behind the trip recorded the images on his smartphone.

Peng went public with the allegation by presenting the video on Thursday, and castigated the school’s decision to give the teacher two “admonitions,” which amounted to verbal warnings.

In the video, the teacher was seen embracing the girl, with his hand across her shoulder and on her forehead, as they sat on seats of the tour bus.

Subsequently, the student’s head was apparently forced into a close embrace, and the teacher’s head moved into close contact with her face, the video showed.

“Anyone looking at the video will conclude that was a kiss. Their upbeat talks and intimate interactions have already exceeded the limits to be observed by a teacher and his students,” Peng said.

Another video recorded by Peng reportedly showed the student’s elbow in contact with the teacher’s thigh, and through what Peng described as “numerous intimate contacts,” the girl lifted her head abruptly several times.

“It seemed she was surprised by the teacher touching or tickling her at some points, and reacted suddenly,” Peng said.

In reply, a school official said the male teacher is 34, married with one child, and has been teaching since 2003.

After receiving a complaint about the incident in December last year, the school convened a gender-equality committee meeting, where the teacher said he had been “tickling the girl” and “tried to bite her on the mouth,” while denying having kissed her on the mouth.

The committee decided to give an admonition as a warning, for “improper behavior,” but the school principal thought that was too light, so an additional admonition was given.

The Taoyuan County Education Bureau has reopened the case.

After reviewing the video, the bureau has launched an investigation to determine whether an inappropriate “teacher-student romantic relationship” was involved in the case.

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