The 10th-grade student suicide case: Discipline or punishment?

N.T.N.Y female student under treatment in hospital.

The incident happened on the last day in November when the parents of female student NTNY, who was in 10th grade at Vinh Xuong High School, Tan Chau Town, An Giang Province, received notice that her daughter had taken a suicide drug in the school restroom area and is under emergency medical care at the local hospital.

Put the students in the dead end

According to the content of the female student’s letter disseminated by the state media and social networks, the reason why Y committed suicide was to prove that she did not make the mistakes that the school attributed, and at the same time said the punishment of the school teachers are not correct. Her suicide was also due to the hope that the teachers involved in the incident should stop putting mental pressure on students.

From Hanoi, sociology PhD. Pham Quynh Huong, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, commented to RFA on the evening of December 7 that:

I feel a lot of pain. There are pressing stories like this that I think there must be something like this in the education system. However, both teachers and students need to learn how to handle such situations. In school as well as normal life there are always problems that are not always as I want so how to behave to overcome such incidents is something that both teachers and students must learn. But in this case, there must be something insurmountable that a student commits suicide like that.”

The problem that Dr. Pham Quynh Huong just mentioned can be considered the cause of the student’s suicide, as told by the mother of this student that female student Y is often talked about by the homeroom teacher about long and thin dressing that cannot cover her “underwear” and she did not attend the paid tutoring organized by the school.

The incident was pushed to a climax when on November 27, the school’s Principal Mr. Nguyen Viet Hum signed a notice that Y violated the school’s regulations, including errors such as reflecting the untruth; causing a mistake in school and family relationships; adversely affecting the honor and reputation of teachers; and use cell phone to record teacher during class …

With the above-mentioned violations, the school forced Ms. Y. to write a review and carry out limited going out for 2 weeks. In addition, this female student was punished for 20 minutes a day, from 6:30 a.m. to Monday to Saturday, to learn the code of ethical conduct and participate in labor at the school.

The suicide letter of Y and the announcement of Vinh Xuong High School.

Not only that, but the mistakes of 10th grade girl are also mentioned in front of other students.

Talking with RFA on the evening of December 7, Mr. Do Viet Khoa, currently teaching at Thuong Tin High School in Hanoi, expressed:

This school’s violations are very heavy, causing shock to teenagers, all for terrorism, to force other students to take extra lessons. That is the teacher’s crime. Need to deal with it.”

Mr. Khoa also analyzed further:

Although the Ministry of Education and Training has documents banning tutoring, schools nationwide force students to take extra lessons in different ways, students who do not want take extra classes their parents are invited to the school for being criticized so they have to force their kids to take extra classes for more money. They draw out the rules in the classroom, school, called the school rules that stipulate very serious rules such as: prohibiting students from taking pictures, recording in school, in class; Prohibit students from violating the rights that the law allows students to enjoy, saying that is against the regulations of the school.”

Meanwhile, according to Clause 2, Article 38 of Circular 32/2020, effective from November 1, schools are not allowed to disciplined students who violate the school rules during the process of learning and training by formal criticism in front of class, in front of school.

In addition, Decree 32 also allows students to use phones during school hours for learning purposes if they have teachers’ permission.

This teacher ethics?

One day after their student committed suicide because they were so resentful about the school’s discipline, many parents with children of school age and even education experts expressed their grief on the way of teaching to be human. At Vinh Xuyen, An Giang school, the main teacher of student Y posted on her personal page Yêu Màu Tím (Love Purple) status that is said to be quite insensitive, quote verbatim: “A bird found to die very proudly … to slander … in a very noble environment, the bird chooses a very clean place … Please return the purity to the death of the bird or the elegance of your singing stork. Hope you guys can solve this puzzle!”

With many years of experience in the law industry, lawyer Nguyen Van Hau, chairman of the Vietnam Lawyers Center affirms:

The teacher writes about her student on social media, criticizing the student so everyone knows, this is serious misconduct and needs serious review. Students are not allowed to bring teachers online, so teachers are not allowed to bring students to comment, whether insinuated or directly, whether speaking directly or anonymous. If a positive story is another, a negative one is a violation of school rules. I think this is a violation of the provisions of the Education Law. My opinion is that this teacher, compared to the education law, has also violated the law.”

Disagreeing with the teachers of Vinh Xuyen school, teacher Do Viet Khoa continued to share with RFA that, with the mistakes of the teachers and the psychological effects that students have to suffer, he suggested that the authorities should dismiss the school principal, vice-principal, and dismiss the main teacher because, according to him, “a 15-day suspension is not strict enough.”

However, through this incident, Mr. Khoa said that students, regardless of their circumstances, need to discuss with their parents, despite fighting with the bad, they must avoid self-destruction and not to fall into the same situation as the schoolgirl in Vinh Xuong.

The representative of the Department of Education and Training of An Giang province on December 6 said that it had temporarily suspended works of Mr. Nguyen Viet Hum, the school’s principal, and Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Hanh, vice-principal of the school for a period of 15 days. (Translated)