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Preschoolers mistreated 'for fun,' teachers detained

(Shanghai Daily)

10:49, October 26, 2012

POLICE detained two female teachers at a kindergarten in east China's Zhejiang Province yesterday for allegedly abusing students "for fun" and then posting online pictures of the abusive acts.

Yan Yanhong, 20, an unlicensed teacher, was seen in a picture smiling beside a crying boy she allegedly had lifted up nearly 20 centimeters by the ears. Other pictures posted to the Internet showed children, aged between four and five, with their mouths sealed by tape, dumped head-first in a trash can, with their clothes stripped off as they danced and made to kiss each other. There were no reports of injuries.

Yan allegedly wrote "It's fine!" beside the Internet pictures.

In interviews with local media, Yan said. "I just played with them at that time" and "It was great fun. The picture was so interesting!"

Yan and another teacher, Tong Qingqing, who took pictures instead of stopping the abuse, were dismissed by the privately run Blue Peacock Kindergarten in Wenling City as soon as the scandal made headlines on Wednesday.

"Yan asked me to take pictures and I did. I didn't expect that these pictures would pose such great social influence," Tong said in a TV interview.

Local education authorities have also ordered teachers of the kindergarten to apologize to every family of students in the class in which the incident took place.

Yan was detained "on charges of picking quarrels and provoking troubles," according to a statement from the Wenling city government. The maximum penalty for that charge is five years in prison.

Yan was accused of stirring up troubles because China's child-abuse laws only apply to family members, leaving a loophole, police said. Current laws regarding the protection of minors rely on school administrators and education authorities to punish teachers. However, these laws are not always strongly enforced.

It said Tong, who took the pictures and uploaded them, has been put under a seven-day administrative detention.

"She has problems in her moral quality," Wu Guojian, a local official, said of Yan. The kindergarten had failed to pass this year's educational evaluation, he added.

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