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New Taipei cram school teacher arrested for making students slap each other

Video taken by third student shows teacher smiling during boys’ ‘punishment’

Cram school teacher accused of making students slap each other. (Facebook, Chang Zhen-hao photo)

Cram school teacher accused of making students slap each other. (Facebook, Chang Zhen-hao photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An English teacher at a cram school in New Taipei City's Xizhi District has been accused of making two students slap each other on the face while another recorded them on video.

New Taipei City Councilor Chang Zhen-hao (張錦豪) wrote on Facebook Thursday (March 17) that one of the boys’ fathers had approached him about the incident. The teacher, surnamed Lee (李), allegedly issued the “punishment” after seeing the boys pushing each other on Friday (March 11).

Chang cited the student’s father as saying when his son returned home with bruises on his cheeks, he was told that a “classmate” had hit him. When he asked for more details, he was shocked to find out that not only had Lee told the two boys to slap each other, he had also had an older student hold their heads in place and record a video of the incident.

After the boy’s parents retrieved and reviewed the video, they immediately withdrew their son from the cram school despite the owner and Lee’s apologies, according to Chang.

CNA reported that both students’ parents have sued Lee and reported the case to the Shilin District Prosecutors Office.

After receiving a warrant, the police arrested Lee and seized relevant evidence. Prosecutors are considering charging him with violating The Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act, coercion, and causing bodily harm.

The New Taipei City Government's Education Department said that after it received a report from the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Center on Wednesday (March 16), it immediately conducted an inspection at the cram school but found no illegal activities. If the allegations against him are proven to be true, the school will be fined between NT$60,000 (US$2,115) and NT$600,000, and the Education Department will assess whether Lee may continue to work as a cram school teacher.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Center Director-General Hsu Chih-chi (許芝綺) told CNA that after the investigation and trial, the Social Welfare Department will be responsible for issuing the fine, and social workers will counsel all three students involved to ensure their mental and physical health. Social workers will also interview the victims’ parents for their thoughts on the incident and assess the state of their mental and physical health.