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May 10, 2013

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Students complain teachers forced them to donate money

SOME students at an elementary school complained their teachers forced them to donate at least 5 yuan (81 US cents) each via the Red Cross Society of China to aid earthquake victims in Sichuan Province.

Those who refused to donate money or gave less than 5 yuan were scolded by the teachers, the pupils said.

Gu Zhenguo, principal of Zhoupu Town Elementary School in the Pudong New Area, yesterday denied the accusation but told Shanghai Daily they found a case in which a teacher removed a student from the class cadre post after she refused to donate money.

The pupils told Shanghai Television on Wednesday the school launched the donation drive last week with the Red Cross Society of China to aid Sichuan earthquake victims. Although the school didn't require everyone to donate money, some teachers said it was necessary.

"We have to donate the money. If we don't donate today, the teacher will ask us to bring the money tomorrow, otherwise the teacher has to use her own money," a student told the TV station.

"I've already been scolded once as I forgot to bring the money."

Another pupil told the TV station the teacher required them to give at least 5 yuan, but 10 yuan would be better.

"The teacher said we cannot donate 1 jiao or 2 jiao, but should donate 5 yuan or more," the pupil said.

Gu told Shanghai Daily that 97 percent of the school's 1,460 students have thus far donated more than 10,700 yuan via the Red Cross. He said students volunteered to donate the money "out of kindness."

However, Gu admitted a female teacher removed a 10-year-old girl from the post as a class cadre after she openly announced in class that she would not donate any money.

The girl told her class her father had taught her not to trust the Red Cross Society of China, which has been involved in a series of scandal, and she should not donate a penny to the organization, Gu said.

The teacher asked the girl to bring the money the next day to set an example as a class cadre. The girl refused and was then removed from the post, Gu said.

The teacher was not named but was described as a Chinese language teacher with more than 20 years of experience.

"We realized the teacher had made a serious mistake in the incident, but it was only a single case. The kindness of all the other students should not be denied," Gu said.

School officials haven't decided whether the teacher will be punished, Gu said.

The Red Cross Society of China is still mired in a credibility crisis two years after a scandal in which Guo Meimei claimed to be a manager with the charity while flaunting her lavish lifestyle online, sparking a public outcry.

An investigation found Guo never worked for the Red Cross.


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