School of Hard Knocks

Andrei Marks · March 1, 2008

Small article from ynet.com’s legal section. It’s sort of a Dear Abby about corporal punishment in schools. Speaking to Japanese, Korean, and Chinese friends, the situation with physical punishment in East Asian schools is similar to that in America–namely, it on the whole doesn’t exist anymore. Mostly because of complaints from parents and legal issues. But I don’t know what the teacher in this article did exactly.

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Corporal Punishment Led Student to Illness, Should the School Bear Full Responsibility?

Ming is an elementary school’s fourth grader who was punished for an hour by Liu Mou, a physical education teacher, for being unruly during class. Afterwards Ming became psychologically depressed, and was evaluated as schizophrenic by a legal medical expert . Ming’s parents went to the school demanding that it bear responsibility for compensation. Is this reasonable?

Ni Changli, lawyer, responds: If, after going through a hearing and investigation by the people’s court, it is determined that there exists a necessary causal relationship between Ming’s schizophrenia and the teacher’s corporal punishment, then the school should bear the responsibility of compensation. Objectively speaking, there could be a certain relationship between Ming’s ailment and his personality, the pressures of studying, and the parents’ methods of discipline, etc. The teacher’s punishment was only one factor, and the school should bear a certain proportion of the responsibility.

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I wonder how it turned out, and what “proportion of responsibility” there is for pushing a borderline schizophrenic, if such was the case, over the edge?

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