Teacher fired for demanding published apology

Updated: 2011-12-15 07:55

By Zhang Xiaomin (China Daily)

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DALIAN, Liaoning - A teacher lost his job after having a student publish an apology to him in a newspaper, triggering heated debate on Tuesday in Dalian, in Northeast China's Liaoning province.

The apology, published on Monday as a classified ad in Dalian Evening News, said: "Teacher Liang, I am XXX. I apologize to you for what I did, I know I've hurt you. Please forgive me."

The apology attracted attention and aroused controversy nationwide.

After investigating the incident, the Bureau of Education of Dalian's Ganjingzi district announced on Tuesday it was dissolving the employment contract with the teacher.

In a news release, the bureau also said it will circulate a notice in the district criticizing the Qipan Primary School, the headmaster and teacher and that all responsible must apologize to the student and his parents. The district also said it will initiate a discussion on professional ethics among teachers.

According to a report on Tuesday in Dalian Evening News, the sixth-grade student, said Liang was "a fool" while chatting with a student from Liang's class. Liang overheard the remark and demanded that child bring his parents to the school to apologize within two weeks. The parents found out too late and Liang would not then accept their apology. He insisted instead on a published letter of apology.

When reached by a China Daily reporter by telephone on Wednesday, Liang declined to be interviewed.

"If the teacher forced the student to publish the letter, I think the student is right to call him 'a fool'," said a netizen called 21pianluoye in a post on Sina weibo, the nation's largest micro-blogging website.

But after Liang's dismissal was announced, Mu Cunzhi, 65, the grandfather of a Qipan Primary School student, said it was "too severe".

"Everyone makes mistakes. We should give the teacher a chance to turn over a new leaf," Mu told China Daily.

A guard at the school, who declined to give his name, said it was the media reports that caused Liang's punishment.

"Liang has been teaching for about 20 years. He is a nice man and always greets us when he passes the gate," he said.

But a retired teacher surnamed Liu, who lives near the school, thinks the punishment is "appropriate".

"Teachers today think they are somebody. It is very different from when I was teaching in the school," Liu said.

"I tried my best not to let the students know my birthday. But today, some teachers even drop hints, saying what previous students did for their birthday. On New Year's Day or other festivals, the parents have to have gifts for the teachers, too," he added.

Teachers' ethics have been a topic of discussion in recent years, following some incidents where educators resorted to corporal or other forms of punishment that humiliate students.

On Monday, the Ministry of Education published on its website draft standards for kindergarten, primary school and middle school teachers, and solicited public comment on them.

The draft emphasizes that teachers should always be student-oriented, and never satirize, ridicule, discriminate, or resort to corporal punishment in any form.

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