School bullies punished for picking on girl

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Two 17-year-old minors, a female and a male, were sentenced to jail last month for bullying a fellow student, aged 15, in May.

In both cases the sentences were reprieved. The female received a two-year jail sentence, with a reprieve of three years; the male 18 months, with a reprieve of two years.

The two, both from the Real Estate College, were sued for humiliating women.

Prosecutors said a female teenager surnamed Min had taken her schoolmate surnamed Bao, the victim, together with four other students, aged 13 to 15, to a dormitory room around 10pm on May 11.

There they bullied Bao by writing humiliating words on her face, beating and slapping her, forcing her to smoke, dropping cigarette ash on her, and hurting her breasts, said prosecutors.

Yu, the male defendant, who was living in a nearby dormitory building, was said to have encouraged Min and her friends to pour water on Bao, force her to dance on the balcony and use their smartphones to record their behavior, sending the images to him.

The defendants made Bao kneel down, while beating her with plastic bottles and slapping her face. The bullying continued until 1am the next day, causing injuries on Bao's head, said prosecutors.

The court said Min and Yu had committed the crime of humiliating women but decided to give them a lighter punishment as both of them were younger than 18 and they had turned themselves in to police and confessed. The other four were not sued as they were under 16.

The court confirmed Min as the prime culprit, while Yu was classed as an accessory.

Education authorities launched an investigation into the affair in June after media had reported on it. Investigations found Bao and six other students were persuaded by their former school — Huanglou Middle School — to transfer to Real Estate College, an educational training agency that was not qualified for academic degree education.

Authorities ordered the "college" to remove all illegally admitted students, who should have been protected with the same rights as other students undergoing nine years of education in primary and middle schools. One of the students has returned to Huanglou, while the other six, including Bao, have been admitted into vocational schools, according to Shanghai Morning Post.

After the bullying incident came to light, Shanghai Education Commission asked all district education bureaus to regulate schools and training agencies to protect students during their education.

The commission also called for cooperation among families, schools and society in general because school bullying was a complicated matter.

The Ministry of Education released a notice in May, asking all primary and secondary schools in the country to crack down on oral, physical and online abuse.

Last week, the ministry released a guideline on education on how to deal with bullying, together with the Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League.

The guideline suggested schools improve ideological, moral, legal and psychological education of students.

Officials will be held accountable for serious incidents of bullying or violence in areas under their jurisdiction, according to the guideline.

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