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July 26, 2012

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Train wreck survivor in kindergarten quandary

A YEAR after "miracle girl" Xiang Weiyi survived Wenzhou high-speed train crash, her family has had trouble finding a kindergarten for the girl near her hospital in Shanghai.

The girl known as Yi Yi is recovering well. However, Xiang Yuyu, Yi Yi's uncle, complained on his microblog that he has put in applications for the girl at several kindergartens, but all turned her down.

The kindergartens rejected her over worries that she might be prone to injury and they would be responsible for her injuries, he said.

"She is longing to go to kindergarten and play with other children."

Yi Yi should receive rehabilitation in Shanghai for up to a year. Xiang said Yi Yi goes to the hospital every day for rehabilitation in the morning and then watches TV at a rented home, which is "not a healthy and normal life for a three-year-old child."

"To stay with children of the same age is good for her physical and psychological health, as she has been gloomy after the accident," he said.

Reports of Yi Yi being turned away triggered anger from Internet users.

Dr Du Qing from Xinhua Hospital's rehab department said Yi Yi is healthy enough to go to kindergarten and able to walk like children of her age.

"Her left leg is growing stronger and most of her leg power has been regained through therapy."

Educational authorities responded yesterday that Yi Yi failed to meet the admission standard. According to admission rules, non-local children should have resident permits and their parents should prove they have worked in the city for at least a year. The girl's parents died in the crash, and none of her close relatives works in Shanghai.

"Considering Yi Yi's special condition, we are willing to grant her an exception," said Ren Yun of the Yangpu District Education Bureau. They decided to send Yi Yi to a public kindergarten or a private kindergarten near her rented apartment.

However, the decision angered other local residents, who face fierce competition for a kindergarten place.

The city has an extreme shortage of pre-school resources. Local parents need to buy expensive apartments near kindergartens and meet strict requirements to get their children in.

"I have great sympathy for Yi Yi," said Sharon Wei, mother of a kindergarten-aged girl. "But pity should not be an excuse to break the rule."

Yi Yi's uncle Xiang said the family decided to decline the offer and find a private kindergarten on their own instead.


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