Chinese boy, 11, with cancer made a pariah by teacher who thought he might be contagious

  • Child made to sit apart from other children, not allowed to take exam, father claims on social media
  • Youngster didn’t tell his parents of his mistreatment for fear of worrying them
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 7:00pm

A primary schoolteacher in southeast China has been accused of making an 11-year-old boy who was undergoing treatment for cancer sit apart from his classmates on the grounds the child might be contagious.

The boy, identified only as Zhou, transferred to the school in Quanzhou, Fujian province, in September so he could be closer to his parents while receiving chemotherapy treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Southeast News reported on Wednesday.

Zhou Xiongying, the child’s father, became concerned, however, when his son was not given a mark for a midterm languages examination. When he spoke to the child, he explained what had happened and the father posted the allegations on social media, the report said.

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According to the boy, his teacher, who was also called Zhou, said he could not sit with the other pupils in class or take the examination as he might be contagious.

“My son just sat there for 45 minutes during the exams,” Zhou Snr was quoted as saying. “What must he have been thinking? How sad must he have been?”

The father said his son initially did not want to say what had been going on for fear of worrying his parents.

The report did not make clear if Zhou Snr had spoken to the teacher or the headmaster of the school, which is in Quanzhou’s Huian county, but said several pupils were removed from the boy’s class just days after he enrolled.

In a video and images posted online, the youngster can be seen sitting at a desk some distance behind the rest of the class.

Zhou Snr said the languages teacher had questioned the boy’s right to attend the school in the first place as he had been ill when he registered.

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In a separate report by The Beijing News, the school’s headmaster, identified only as Ye, said it would take steps to resolve the situation, including talking to the languages teacher and parents of the other children.

The teacher at the centre of the allegations is currently on sick leave, the report said.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the body’s immune system in cells called lymphocytes. Zhou had been diagnosed with the disease about a year ago, but after the chemotherapy was given a clean bill of health by his doctor.