A teacher in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, has been found not guilty of insulting and abusing a student, who later jumped to his death with a suicide note on his body.
The Lianxi District People's Court in Jiujiang issued the verdict on Wednesday in a case filed by the boy's parents against the teacher, surnamed Zou.
On Nov 9, 2021, the boy jumped to his death from a building across the street from his school.
The police found a suicide note on his body, which read: "I confess that my death has nothing to do with my parents, guardians, society, or the country. It is only related to Zou, who used violent means."
The boy's parents filed a criminal complaint with the Lianxi court, seeking to hold Zou criminally responsible for the crimes of insult and abuse.
The court found that prior to the incident, the boy had repeatedly failed to complete his homework on time, or did not meet requirements. He had also frequently not attended school.
Zou, the boy's main teacher and Chinese-language instructor, criticized the boy using phrases such as "so stupid", "debtor king of homework" and "untrustworthy", in October and November, 2021.
The teacher punished the boy by hitting his head and neck with a textbook, making him stand for half an hour, changing his seat, and making him stand and read textbooks at the podium after class.
The court said that it was necessary to distinguish between insulting behavior and disciplinary measures in order to determine whether Zou's actions constituted the crime of insult.
The court found that Zou's criticism and disciplinary measures were within the normal scope of teaching. Although there were some inappropriate language and behavior, they were intended to encourage the boy to learn from his mistakes and improve, the court said.
Zou's measures did not violate the provisions of the Rules for Disciplinary Measures in Primary and Secondary Schools issued by China's Ministry of Education, it said.
Moreover, the court, after talking to his classmates, found no harm to the boy's personality or reputation.
However, the court said Zou's language and behavior failed to meet the professional ethics and conduct requirements for teachers.
Zou did not consider the emotions of the student, neglected to provide timely assistance, nor did she communicate with his parents. Education authorities imposed administrative punishment on Zou for violating professional ethics and conduct, it said.
According to media reports, Zou was demoted and removed from her teaching post.
The court deeply regretted the boy's suicide and said it emphasizes the need for society to pay more attention to the education of minors.
Schools and teachers should work with parents in educating students, to promote the healthy growth of minors, the court said.
After hearing the verdict, the boy's parents said they would appeal.