A teacher at a preschool in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) who was cleared of allegations of giving children sedatives yesterday sued five public figures, including two members of the Legislative Yuan, for defamation.
The teacher, surnamed Ho (何), filed the criminal complaint at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, accompanied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Hung-wei (王鴻薇).
The suit named as defendants Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), New Power Party Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭), DPP New Taipei City Councilor Tai Wei-shan (戴瑋姍), Taiwan Children’s Rights Association director-general Angela Wang (王薇君) and Chung Yuan Christian University associate professor Chao Ming-wei (招名威).
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
The suit follows a public firestorm that broke out last month after parents said that the private Banqiao preschool was sedating their children with drugs, causing them severe mood swings and symptoms of withdrawal.
An investigation by New Taipei City prosecutors that included hair follicle tests on 36 of the students found no evidence of criminal behavior, and the case was closed on July 12 without charges being filed.
Speaking outside the prosecutors’ office, Ho said that the defendants had abused their platforms as public figures to make unfounded accusations against the school’s teachers, subjecting them to bullying, being denied work and severe emotional distress.
Ho said that she had also filed a separate complaint against Claire Wang and Angela Wang for allegedly revealing the teachers’ personal information on social media, including their surnames, English names and the classes they taught.
She said that she and her fellow teachers had been used as “electoral props” throughout the highly politicized ordeal and that even after an investigation established their innocence, none of their accusers apologized.
In a statement responding to the suit, Claire Wang said that her intention in the Banqiao case was to lend a voice to the students and their parents, and to ensure that the government took the issue seriously.
She said that she took full responsibility for her actions and apologized to anyone dragged into the fierce public debate surrounding the accusations.
Lo said that his comments on the case were intended to pressure the New Taipei City Government to investigate the parents’ claims and “find the truth.”
He added that the lawsuit was being driven by people acting behind the scenes for political purposes.
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