How to Deal With Violence in Schools?

Anyone who follows the Chinese internet is bound to feel that stories like this (or this, if you prefer ChinaHush) are getting more common (also see this, this, etc.). Author Wang Xiaofeng posted about the topic on his blog today, asking commenters for suggestions on how to handle a situation one of his readers asked him about.


Yesterday I received a mail from a stranger*, the main idea was this:

Recently, the video of the Shanghai schoolgirl beating one of her classmates has become very hot on the internet, I don’t know whether you have seen it. Coincidentally, my cousin’s child, a very well-behaved child, was also beaten a few days ago. The reason was that he didn’t let another student with worse grades cheat off his paper, this became an excuse to beat him. The first time after being beaten, the child was scared and so just endured it [without saying anything], but now the beating is even more ferocious. Is the only option just calling the police? Generally, after the police have come and criticized the education [there], the child will be beaten worse, and the teacher won’t intervene. I want to seek advice, in this situation what should we do?

This one has me really stumped. First, I don’t have kids so I definitely haven’t run into this problem; second, back when I was studying, although there are bad kids in every generation, it certainly wouldn’t have gone so far as this. Can it really be true that the criminal underworld has already penetrated primary and middle schools? Additionally, I really don’t understand the chaos happening in middle and primary schools today, is it already so bad that when someone is being beaten, [everyone] wants to record it and use it to flaunt their strength in numbers? Therefore, I can’t give this classmate any good advice. What I can think of is, perhaps we get a group of people together to beat up the animal who beat up your cousin’s kid? After beating him senseless, he will only know “sitting on the sofa” and won’t know about picking on people [anymore]. But this is not a good idea. As there’s already no way of speaking to teachers or the police about it, I feel there’s still one road to take, but it may well be the last [option]. Use the teacher’s ambivalence as grounds to lodge a complaint against the teacher. However, this may lead to more savagery, [in which case] your cousin’s child would need to change schools. But if you can get this kind of teacher out of the education system, that’s a kind of contribution.

Or, how about this, let’s see how people reading my blog will respond. Number one, if you’ve picked on people like this before, what did you fear the most? Number two, if you or your child has been picked on like this before, how did you deal with it?

Additionally, does this type of thing happen everywhere (big cities, small cities, towns, and villages)? I hope everyone can help find a better way of dealing with this.

[*群众来信, literally, “letter from the masses”. Is there a better way to translate this? -ed.]


First, I never picked on anyone and don’t know what I’d fear.
Second, when I was picked on like this, I often endured it. My parents said to hit the other kid, better to go down fighting. After getting a few savage punches in, the students around me didn’t dare to pick on me anymore.

This isn’t a good method? The good is that at such a young age, one can cause pain but not serious injury with punches. Kids have their own solutions to problems amongst themselves, and while death or injury from beating are possible, they’re very improbable.

In life, many things are chance.

When I was in middle school there was a classmate who was always being picked on by a few others, beaten at the end of class every day. Of course, it wasn’t going to kill him, but it definitely wasn’t soft either, because I occasionally hit him a few times myself (sorry).
One day, his father came to school furious and demanded his son point out the classmates who were picking on him, then scolded them ferociously. At the time, we were in self-study class, so there was no teacher, and all the students were so scared that no one dared speak, we all put our heads down. Later, the teacher was really annoyed with this parent, so the dad came again and apologized to those students. But after that, that student was never bullied again.

Of course, this is far from being a good method, as it might well scar younger students, but it did get a definite result. Also, that school was in a big city, a provincial “focus school”.

One must understand how this world works, the law of the jungle is very simple. Aside from opening more reform schools, what can be done? On perhaps finding a conscientious gangster to serve as vice-principal. In truth, kids are liable to beat each other, it’s very common. In that video, it was mostly humiliation rather than beating. There’s nothing that can be resolved, so look at it like an art film, Shanghainese is very warm [sounding].

At our school, if someone wanted to beat someone else, they’d let out a rumor that there was a group of little hooligans waiting at the school gates. The person who was to be beaten would get scared, a mediator would come forward, and eventually the one who was going to be beaten would treat the would-be beater to a meal. Things were resolved in this way, I never saw any real fighting.

Send him to study Korean boxing or something like that. It’s not about being able to fight back, it’s about not wanting to be scarred by violence and become a loaf. Don’t send him to study wushu or something like that; there are lots of scoundrels there too.

I have a lot of experience with this kind of thing.

Number one: In primary school I rarely picked on other kids because they were all my neighbors and we often played together.
What was I most afraid of? My father beating me…whether or not I did anything wrong, he always hit me first…anyway
After the schools were combined and there were many classmates who were strangers, bullying was very common. 6th graders demanded money and cigarettes from those younger than them, it was very common.

Number two: If it was my child, I would seek out the kid who was beating them and take them out to dinner, take the two of them for a stroll together, children don’t bear grudges!
When I come across really bad things, I’d just hit him directly. Use evil to control evil!
Supplement: My family is in a middle-sized city in Jiangsu.

Of course there are several more comments already and probably bound to be a lot more by the time anyone reads this, so if you can read Chinese, check it out. Anyway, thoughts? Are things actually changing or is the only difference that now kids in China have cell phone cameras? And what, if anything, should be done when this kind of stuff occurs?

0 thoughts on “How to Deal With Violence in Schools?”

  1. “Students in the classroom are entitled to no less protection from unlawful discrimination and harassment than their adult counterparts in the workplace,” Chief Justice James Zazzali wrote in the opinion.

    What to do about Bullies and Safe Schools
    1) adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying



  2. As a former teacher, I think that protecting children and teen-agers should be THE top priority in any school system. In the long run, children, teachers and school administrators should be taught that human socities cannot be ruled by the law of the jungle, and that the duty of adults, especially those with responsibilities, is to stop violent perpetrators from bullying, humiliating, beating up, sexually harassing or assaulting children.
    But no one can wait until all adults have realized that this is their job to protect children. Drastic action must be taken NOW to punish very severely not only the aggressors, but also the cheering onlookers and all those who watched and did nothing to call the teachers or the police.
    All of them should be made to apologize publicly to the victim, televised, the aggressor sent to a labor camp or a disciplinary military unit, the onlookers sent to reform schools, and all forced to compensate the victim financially.
    Only public punishment will deter potential aggressors.


  3. Post four. Why am I not surprised that a Westophile would try to act as if though bullying only happens in China?

    In America, a girl was gang raped and beaten for 2 and a half ours outside of a public school by other students.


  4. While it is sad that there is this kind of violence in schools, I don’t see that this is a problem that it only happens in China.


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