TAIPEI, Taiwan - A teacher in Taipei yesterday apologized publicly for having slapped a second grader on the face several times over a practical joke.
"Sorry, sorry," said the teacher, surnamed Lu, at a press conference arranged by his school.
But Lu, wearing a mask and a cap to hide his face, did not answer questions on why he slapped the student, surnamed Chang, so many times.
The mother of the kid claimed that her son was slapped nine times after the teacher found out that he and a classmate had touched each other's genitals while playing a practical joke on each other.
The mother said his son is now afraid of going to school following the punishment.
She demanded that the teacher be suspended immediately and receive counseling.
She said she has also reported the case to police.
The school principal said Lu has been teaching there for more than 10 years, and had never had a record of using corporal punishment.
Lu regretted the punishment, and felt remorse for losing his temper, the principal said.
According to the principal, Lu had previously found that boy students of his class had been playing such practical jokes quite often.
Lu then had his students promise not to do it again, and he lost his temper after finding that they had failed to listen.
The principal quoted the teacher as saying that he was too eager to 'correct' the students' misbehavior.
The principal said the school's evaluation board has meted out a demerit for Lu, and put him under two months' of observation and counseling to see if he still qualifies for teaching.
But Taipei City's education department said the punishment for Lu is too light, as he deserves a major demerit.
According to Taipei City Councilor Liu Yao-jen, who has been helping the family handle what he called a 'child abuse' case, Lu slapped Chang three times in front of the whole class.
Lu then grabbed Chang on the ear, dragging him out of the classroom and slapped him six more times in the bathroom.
In a report Lu submitted to the school, he only admitted to having slapped the student, but did not say anything about the ear-grabbing or the number of slaps, the United Evening News said.