Private school loses license after student abuse

Updated: 2007-09-26 09:34

BEIJING -- China's education authority has revoked the license of a private school that took in problem teenagers and claimed to offer strict discipline after it was found abusing students.

A Ministry of Education investigation confirmed that staff at Dadongfang Xingzou School, in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, had physically and verbally abused teenage students, said ministry spokesman Wang Xuming at a press conference.

The Beijing Times reported in June that a 14-year-old Beijing boy took drugs and jumped from the second floor of a dormitory building in the school after being repeatedly beaten by teachers.

The boy said he tried to commit suicide so that his parents could learn what happened to him as he was denied contact with them for the first three months in the school, according to the newspaper story.

Some desperate Chinese parents send their children, who do not behave well in normal schools, to boarding schools called "xingzou" schools that offer paramilitary-style discipline.

"Although schools like the Dadongfang Xingzou School take in problem students, they must follow laws and regulations like other schools. But some of them have done things wrong and many have no proper government approval," Wang said.

Investigators found the school had been granted a license as a juvenile training center, but was not qualified as a boarding school or to offer paramilitary education.

The ministry had started a national survey of xingzou schools, focusing on illegal education methods and teacher qualifications, and those without proper licenses would be closed, Wang said.

As the administration was still working on a regulation on non-school juvenile training centers, it would suspend processing any such applications, he said.

According to the Beijing Times, the Dadongfang Xingzou School had hired former military personnel and prison wardens as discipline teachers.

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