A 27-year-old teacher at a Beijing kindergarten has admitted to beating her pupils after security camera footage emerged that apparently shows her kicking and screaming at the children, local media have reported.
The teacher was arrested yesterday and the education commission of Chaoyang district has formed a special team to investigate the matter, according to The Beijing News.
Parents had previously found bruises on their children and noticed changes in their behaviour. About 20 parents, some clutching doctors' papers and pictures showing the apparent abuse, gathered in the morning outside the school along Qingyuan Road demanding to see the principal and view the camera footage.
Watch: Caught on camera: kindergarten teacher ‘kicking and beating’ Beijing toddlers
What they saw shocked them. The teacher was heard asking all 21 pupils, aged between three and four, to stand in a corner of a toilet, which was off-camera. Two boys were seen trying to run away, but she caught them.
The children were heard screaming and the teacher yelling: "You all like this, right? You all like this, right?" The children's screaming lasted for about five minutes.
Ten minutes later, another security camera showed her bringing the children to the cafeteria, where she separated two pupils, who were not allowed to eat.
The rest of the class was apparently instructed to finish the food within five minutes. Noticing that one boy was slower to eat, the teacher walked up to him and kicked his leg, shouting: "Can you learn from mistakes?" He quietly replied: "Yes."
The teacher then walked on and kicked two more children.
The woman, who taught at the school for two years, admitted to the authorities she began to beat the children in April of last year.
According to the parents, the teacher hit the children on the head, calves and back. Doctors who were asked to examine eight of the four-year-olds said the children had multiple soft-tissue injuries.
One father told the News he had noticed bruises on his son's legs for months. On Friday, he discovered fresh ones as he was helping the boy take a bath.
The child was hesitant to say what happened, but later said the teacher hit several pupils every day and threatened them to keep them quiet. "My son has woken up crying several times at night, screaming, 'Don't hit me'," the father was quoted as saying.
One parent said the teacher saw the video and showed remorse. "After watching the video, she screamed, 'I can't believe I did this!' … She didn't admit [it] in the first place. [She] said she just pushed and shoved them."
Last month, a kindergarten in Lanzhou in Gansu province was found to have given pupils antiviral medicine without their parents' knowledge in order to keep them healthy and boost attendance.
After similar incidents emerged, the Ministry of Education and the National Health and Family Planning Commission ordered a nationwide inspection of schools.