A kindergarten in northwest China has provoked widespread outrage after parents complained that their children were told to finish their meals in the lavatory if they ate too slowly, according to a local newspaper report. The Education Bureau of Dali county of Shaanxi has started an investigation in Jingshi Tongdi Kindergarten after parents said children had been told to take bowls of food to the toilets if they could not finish the meal in the designated time, Huashang Daily reported. A parent surnamed Li told the newspaper that her daughter had started complaining about a sore throat a month ago. At first it was thought she had a cold, but doctors later suggested she might have scalded her throat by eating too quickly. “On October 3, my girl told me that she has to eat fast; otherwise she would be ordered [by her teacher] to go to the toilet to eat. She said she ate there several times,” Li said. Kindergarten teacher fired for forcing children out into hot sun as a punishment She then checked with other parents, who said their children had told them the same thing. A woman surnamed Zhang said her child was often forced to eat in the lavatory, sometimes three times a day. “My kid said it smells in the toilet, making it difficult for him to swallow food. He said they had to follow this rule since last year,” said Zhang, adding that she refused to accept this practice from the kindergarten. Earlier this week some parents went to the kindergarten to talk to its head. From surveillance footage, they saw some children enter the toilet while holding their bowls and some others came out after finishing their lunch. The school acknowledged that it had imposed the punishment, but apologised and promised to improve its management, according to the newspaper report. Heatstroke tragedy as four-year-old boy left on kindergarten bus in China Scandals in nursery schools across the country have frequently been exposed by mainland media. High-profile cases include staff at a branch of the US-listed RYB Education New World kindergarten in Beijing who pierced children with needles, and a kindergarten for travel agency Ctrip’s employees had its teachers pushing children and force feeding pupils mustard and steriliser tablets. Shanghai Morning Post reported in 2009 that a woman transferred her son to another kindergarten after he was made to eat in the toilet because he often threw up after eating.