One October afternoon after school, two primary school girls in Funan, Anhui province made a pact to kill themselves in their empty classroom. Before drinking the poison that they hoped would lead to their death, the students scrawled “blame our deaths on our math teacher” on their classroom’s blackboard. After being treated in the hospital, the girls explained that they were upset that the teacher “deliberately found fault in the girl’s work after the two did not attend their make-up lessons.” The teacher denies these allegations.
October 24th, 5pm, a student witnessed the two girls walking on the school playground when one girl suddenly fell to the ground and began foaming at the mouth. The other girl stopped and began to cry anxiously before she too began exhibiting the same symptoms.
The student ran for help, and returned with a teacher who dialed 120. After the two girls arrived at the hospital, the doctors quickly diagnosed their symptoms as poisoning. It wasn’t until the next morning when the girls began to recover that the complete story was discovered.
Hate for teacher
Xiao Li and Xiao Ying (pseudonyms) had planned this suicide pact as early as one week before the incident, and stole a bottle of poison from their parents home in preparation. The day of the incident, they waited in the classroom until all the students had left before drinking half a bottle of insecticide (dichlorvos) between the two of them.
What caused such seemingly good-natured students to commit such an act? The students blame their math teacher.
Xiao Li claims that ever since she did not attend the teacher’s make-up lessons he has forced her to sit in the back of the classroom, or near the wall, and has since taken to deliberately finding fault in her. “All of the students laugh at me, I couldn’t stand it,” Xiao Li told reporters.
Xiao Ying gave a similar explanation, saying the teacher payed no notice nor attention to her, and similarly put her in the back of the classroom to be shunned.
Not a math-hole
However, the math teacher in question vehemently denies these accusations, saying that the make-up classes were requested by the parents and are entirely voluntary. As for the seating arrangement, it is organized according to height and vision. Regarding Xiao Li and Xiao Ying, the teacher told reporters that their “usual performance is very good, very obedient.” Prior to the incident, there was no exception and he noticed nothing strange.
However, it is strange that the girls would go through with such a drastic act over an entirely fabricated story. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, as it would not be uncommon for the math teacher to chastise the girls for missing make-up lessons in the extremely competitive Chinese education system. Whether or not the teacher was as harsh as the girls say in his punishment is unclear.
The Funan County Department of Education is taking the incident very seriously, and immediately set up a group to investigate. According to preliminary findings, the teacher did offer make-up classes, but the make-up was voluntary. Regarding the classroom abuse, they found no intentional malice by the teacher toward his students. “For children to do such a thing, there must be many causes. In the end, whatever is the reason, perhaps only they themselves know.”
Editor’s note: The above is translated from people.com.cn with some alterations.