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Principal stops school demolition by dousing herself in petrol

A VICE principal of a primary school for migrant workers' children in Minhang District poured gasoline over herself during a protest yesterday morning against the government demolishing a dilapidated school building.

Dozens of teaching staff and parents rushed to the school in Tang'an Village of Wujing Town around 7am to stop the workers from demolishing the school, concerned the 650 students will be deprived of an education, the reported today.

During the standoff, vice principal Hao Shimei climbed onto a roof and poured gasoline on herself, holding off more than 100 people involved in the dismantling effort, including workers, police and government officials.

The workers abandoned the demolition job and left the scene around 8:30am.

"I want education officials to arrange schooling for the 650 children and the employment of my teaching staff," Hao told the Website.

The conflict was sparked after the Wujing Town government planned to demolish the school at the end of last month under a citywide campaign to tear down substandard migrant schools and turn the better ones into private schools managed and funded by city government, according to earlier media reports.

Dozens of parents protested the demolition, which has now been put on hold.

The school had about 900 students. Only 200 have been transferred to nearby public schools while others couldn't get in because their parents don't have the three necessary certificates: a local residency permit, a residency permit for their children from their hometown, and proof of employment for the parents.

The children were told to return to their hometown outside Shanghai to receive education.
The Minhang school covers about 1,000 square meters, but nearly 700 square meters contains structures that were built without construction permits.

The school also sits under high-tension power lines, which pose a potential threat to the students' safety, officials said.


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