Case of primary school bullying in Beijing raises public concern

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An article entitled “Say no to school bullies” has gone viral on Weibo since last Friday (December 9). The author, a mother of a 10-year-old student at Zhongguancun Secondary Primary School, writes about how her son was bullied by two of his classmates. On November 24th one of them blocked the toilet door, while the other threw a garbage bin with used toilet paper in it on her son’s head. Later on the boy started having difficulties falling asleep and becoming easily annoyed, leading to him being diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).

Wangchuan, the boy’s father, told a reporter from Xinhua that Pengpeng (an alias), the boy who blocked the door, is much bigger than his son and has been bullying him for some time. Guoguo (another alias), the boy who threw the garbage bin, often helps Pengpeng to bully his son.

After the incident, the Wang family went to the school to speak with the teachers, the students and their parents. Guoguo’s parents apologized, but Pengpeng’s parents said that their son was only a witness and refused to make an apology. In the article, the mother also wrote that a teacher described the incident as “a prank that went too far” and asked the family to “downplay the thing.”

Wang reported the incident to the Haidian District Education Committee and demanded that the school recognize the case as one of school bullying, and that the two pupils should be recorded and punished. The father also asked the parents of the two students to offer written apologies, read them in the presence of the three students and pay for therapy for his son. In order to protect his son, Wang asked that the child remain anonymous.

Zhongguancun Second Primary School issued a final statement on Weibo on December 13 (Tuesday), saying it has been working on settling the dispute among the parents and students. Some of Wang’s demands have been met, including the case being recorded, punishment for the students involved, written apologies and payment of the fees for psychological therapy. However, the parents of the bullies refused to admit that this was an incident of school bullying, and the school called the whole event a “chance occurrence” (偶发事件).