Parents reach agreement with school after bullied girl commits suicide

Society & Culture

The family of a 14-year-old Yunnan girl, who took her own life after long-term bullying by classmates, decided not to hold the bullies accountable after the school provided financial assistance of 80,000 yuan for memorial services.

When reached (in Chinese) by the on October 17, the local government of Xuanwei, Hunan Province, said that the case had concluded after the family reached an agreement with the two girls who picked on their daughter. As part of the agreement, the school gave the victim’s family 80,000 yuan as compensation.

On October 12, news broke out that Liú 刘, a middle school student, committed suicide by consuming pesticide at home. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but did not recover.

It was later revealed that prior to her death, Liu had been attacked by two classmates, who had frequently bullied her, once even slapping her face. Meanwhile, the school was accused of lacking policies to combat on-campus bullying. Some graduates told local media that when they attended the school, “disputes and fights happened almost every week.”

On the Chinese internet, many people believe (in Chinese) that Liu’s family was persuaded by the local government to stop pursuing criminal charges against the bullies and the school. It’s widely acknowledged that when a bullying incident occurs, families of the victims are usually advised to accept compensation as a peaceful way to solve the issue.

In China, school bullying is more prevalent than most realize. According to a 2017 survey by the 21st Century Education Research Institute, a Beijing-based think tank, among 1,003 respondents from 12 schools in the city, about half of the students have been “intentionally bumped or knocked down by classmates.” In addition, nearly 6 percent said they were targeted by bullies on campus every day.

In 2017, China’s education ministry released (in Chinese) a new plan to prevent bullying and violence in schools. According to the new guidelines, schools need to investigate cases of bullying within 10 days after complaints being submitted and educate students about how to protect themselves from malicious behavior.