School issues statement insisting incident was ‘not bullying’
Beijing’s Zhongguancun No 2 Primary School issued a statement on Tuesday, insisting that an incident involving a fourthgrade student was not bullying.
The student had a wastepaper basket from a bathroom thrown at him and was mocked by classmates, leading to him suffering acute stress disorder.
“We feel terribly sorry and apologize sincerely for the hurt brought to students and parents involved in the incident,” the school said in the statement, adding that it will deal with the incident objectively and fairly, while making efforts to forge harmonious relationships among students on campus.
An online post by the boy’s mother about a week ago attracted wide public attention and triggered heated discussions on how education author- ities, the school and parents should handle the incident.
The school tried to mediate between both sides involved in the incident and issued a statement on Saturday, but an agreement has not been reached, as the school “has a different view on the nature of the incident” from the parents of the fourth-grade student, Yang Gang, principal of the school, told China Education Daily on Tuesday.
“The parents of the boy requested we define the incident as bullying, but we cannot do that,” Yang said.
The parents of the two accused apologized, but denied that their sons had done anything that could be deemed as bullying.
Yang added that investigations by the school showed that the incident was one of an accidental nature, and that the students involved had not had any previous conflicts or disputes prior to the incident.
Shen Xu, a volunteer from Beijing who has traveled the country for several years to work with schools to reduce bullying, said bullying contains three main components, according to Swedish researcher Dan Olweus: aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions; a pattern of behavior repeated over time; and an imbalance of power or strength.
Wang Dawei, a professor of crime studies at the People’s Public Security University of China, said bullying on campus is not a fixed term in law and is often mixed with campus violence in China.
Ruan Qilin, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said bullying on campus refers to verbal humiliation, extortion and even physical abuse.
“Primary school students need guidance in their growth,” Ruan said, adding that the incident should make parents, schools and society as a whole reflect on how they are educating children.
The parents of the boy requested we define the incident as bullying, but we cannot do that.”
Yang Gang, principal of Zhongguancun No 2 Primary School in Beijing
Xinhua contributed to this story.
A woman who is pregnant with her second child receives a check-up in Neijiang, Sichuan province, in March.