A primary school teacher in China has been fired after insulting a student’s mother over her son’s academic performance, calling the woman a “peasant” and mocking her working-class background and level of education. The head teacher at a school in Fujian province, southeastern China, publicly humiliated the student’s mother in a parent-teacher WeChat group around May 20. She was dismissed a week later by the local education bureau, the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported. During a conversation in the WeChat group with a number of parents, the head teacher criticised a mother whose son had been experiencing learning difficulties and behavioural problems at school. The head teacher told the mother that her son’s classmates could not bear to be around the boy or his family due to his behaviour but also because they were not “local residents”. She then told the mother the boy should be removed from the school. The mother then asked if the class generally treated local and non-local students differently. “Parents like you are not welcome,” the teacher replied in the chat group. In response, the mother wrote: “I’m nearly 40 years old and I do understand what respect means. People can be less educated, but we must have the basic standards of morality.” The teacher fired back: “How can you be cultivated if you are just a peasant ?” China’s bullying problem in spotlight after teenager’s death She then told the mother to “shut up” when the latter continued to reason with her. “You were born as a peasant, and the attitude in you will never be that of a noble. I’m very busy, so talking with you for so long is an honour you do not deserve,” said the teacher. The teacher’s remarks drew widespread criticism on mainland Chinese social media, with many calling on the education sector to police such attitudes. One commenter wrote: “How could a teacher criticise the occupation of the mother? It’s insane.” “Is the teacher crazy? Where did this rudeness and arrogance come from?” wrote another. Many also called for stricter regulation of teacher behaviour and clearer guidance on their conduct with students and parents in China’s vast education system. “When compared with other professions, working as a teacher requires a more rigid morality as their behaviour sets an example for their students”, a Shanghai-based middle school teacher surnamed Li told the South China Morning Post . “It’s true that teachers with widely different educational backgrounds and social values would have very different attitudes towards students and their families, but regardless of the school, there needs to be a regulatory mechanism for supervision and assessment of teacher behaviour,” Li added. It may not be that common for teachers to lash out at parents in mainland China, but cases of abuse and harassment by teachers towards students are prevalent. In February this year, a high school in Shandong province, eastern China, gave a warning to a teacher who verbally abused a student in the classroom. A month earlier, a primary school in Beijing fired two teachers who used physical violence as a punishment for a young girl.