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Probe into claim pupils helped at funeral

EDUCATION authorities in Fujian Province are investigating reports that primary school pupils were told to skip a class to help at the funeral of the principal's mother-in-law.

All the teachers at Fengming Primary School of Longhai City's Dongyuan Village attended the funeral.

But the teachers denied they had organized the students to help at the funeral, saying students may have offered to help of their own free will, yesterday's Xiamen-based Strait Herald reported.

The principal, who was not named, admitted that about 10 pupils from higher grades had helped carry wreaths.

But he said he was not sure whether classes had been canceled. It would have been other teachers who would have decided to cancel classes, he told the newspaper.

He said it was common for the school to cancel classes so students could help at funerals, but only the funerals of school faculty members and local officials, he said. It had become common practice to have students carry wreaths at the funerals.

Classes are canceled only occasionally and the school makes up for the lost time, he said.

He said the school did not charge fees for helping at funerals and he had refused requests for help at funerals from some villagers last semester.

The principal said he had offered "red envelopes" to the pupils who carried wreaths and treated them to dinner to express his gratitude.

The local education authority is to launch an investigation, the report said.


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