Chinese boy who was rejected by string of kindergartens because of facial injuries finally finds a welcome in the classroom
Child who suffered serious burns in gas blast had struggled to find a school because teachers and parents feared he would scare his classmates
A four-year-old boy in eastern China who has been repeatedly turned down by kindergartens because he was disfigured in a gas explosion was finally welcomed into the classroom this week.
Wenzhou Xinqiao No 1 Kindergarten in Zhejiang province stepped up and offered to take the boy, nicknamed Bei Bei, free of charge.
He was left with serious facial burns and lost his hair after a gas explosion in his home in 2015, which also left his mother and sister with minor injuries.
His family had been trying to get the boy admitted to kindergartens since March last year but had been repeatedly turned down.
One video circulating on the internet showed the director of one kindergarten refusing to take him in the school, arguing that he would scare the other children. She even threatened to call police when the boy’s father tried to reason with her.
In despair, the father, who did not wish to be named, made a public appeal in a local newspaper in the hope of finding one school willing to take Bei Bei.
“We saw the news and would like to help. Kindergarten education is all about love. It’s too vague for the children to understand loving our country. We can start with loving someone around us,” Chen Xiujuan, director of the kindergarten, told the South China Morning Post.
Bei Bei was invited to visit the campus last Friday and had the chance to play with the other children.
Some children said “he was so ugly”, but were friendly towards him after the teachers told the children what had happened to Bei Bei.
The kindergarten also arranged a meeting with parents of his future classmates, some of whom initially protested about the decision to take the boy.
“I understand parents assumed their children would be scared. We then showed them video clips of Bei Bei playing with the other children on the day of the visit. They stopped protesting after seeing that their children did not treat the boy differently,” Chen said.
On Monday Bei Bei came to the school had was greeted at the entrance by his 200 fellow pupils.
“We tried to prepare every child for his appearance, so we introduced Bei Bei to every single pupil there and asked them to say something to Bei Bei. Some said ‘I want to be your friend’,” Chen said.
Bei Bei wears a hat to school, which partly hides his injuries.
He is a quick learner and fits in well with the group, but needs to catch up after missing the first year of kindergarten, Chen said.
Teachers will not give Bei Bei any special treatment in case he starts thinking he is different from the other children, she added.