To be fair, the phenomenon described here can be seen in many other countries (for example, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Japan, etc). Sadistic teachers are not unique to Taiwan. However, in Taiwan, Apple Daily seems to devote more space to covering the subject and that kind of sensationalism may explain the popularity of that newspaper.
On June 26, 2005, the front page of Apple Daily carried a story based upon information furnished by a female secondary school student in Taipei.
The student was not happy about the fact that students have to be inspected for compliance to the dress code every morning; those who failed are then punished. In the following, Apple Daily produced two drawings based upon the photos from the student; they did not want to use the actual photos in order to spare embarrassment for the individual students.
Example 1: A student came to school wearing the wrong-colored socks (e.g. black instead of the regulation white). The student is made to take off the socks and shoes and stand barefooted at the school entrance for all to see.
Example 2: A student came to school in a uniform not meeting regulations. The student is made to assume the position of a human "arch bridge" (拱橋) in the school yard for a certain amount of time.
The next two examples were based upon previous stories from other schools in Taiwan.
Example 3: A female student was observed to be wearing her underpants too low behind the waist. The teacher ordered her to take off her underpants and kept them for four hours.
Example 4: A female student returned to the dormitory too late in the evening. The teacher caned her buttocks with a broom and forced her to stand on her head, while calling her a "nymphomaniac" and a "prostitute."
In all four examples, the information came to Apple Daily because the students decided to fight back by contacting the media. The schools were undoubtedly quite embarrassed by the publicity, and usually mumbled something about the need to discipline repeated offenders and so on.
On June 30, 2005, Apple Daily reported another case of parent-student-teacher conflict. And this one gets stranger than strange.
In March 2005, according to the mother of a young female student, the classmates set up her daughter by slipping her homework exercise book out of her school bag. When the child came to class, she could not produce her homework. The teacher got mad and ordered a classmate to hit the child with a ruler used in the mahjong game (note: no explanation as to why a mahjong ruler should be present in a classroom).
The mother then came to the school to argue with the teacher. When the mother left, the teacher punished the child by ordering her to squat, put her arms around her head and made one hundred 'bunny hops.' The deputy class monitor was assigned to count the number of hops.
The mother said, "When my daughter came home, she could not even move. Then I realized something serious had taken place."
The mother contacted the school, but the teacher refused to admit fault. The mother contacted the Humanistic Education Foundation. On April 27, a conciliation meeting was held. Although the teacher apologized to the mother, she refused to apologize to the daughter.
On May 13, a second meeting was held. As the teacher continued to be evasive, the mother angrily demanded the teacher to do 100 bunny hops. The mother said, "The teacher claimed that she was pregnant and therefore could not hop. However, she was willing to let her own 6-year-old daughter take her place. According to the teacher, the daughter likes to do bunny hops anyway!" An attendee at the meeting told Apple Daily that the mother then said, "I will stop any more action if the teacher's daughter also does 100 bunny hops."
Would any school approve of this kind of deal? There was a written agreement signed by both parties in the presence of the school officials. Article 6 says, "The parent agrees to use proper channels to report problems instead of complaining to the media at will." Article 7 says, "The non-teacher related portion of the agreement shall be settled separately by the teacher and the parent." Thus, the school has plausible deniability.
Here is a handnote from the teacher yesterday:
Translation: The teacher said: "This is a matter between the parent and myself, and does not concern anyone else. We have resolved this matter by signing an agreement. The matter is over. Thanks you for your concern. What happens tomorrow is between the parent and myself. I thank you very much for your concern."
Indeed, the bunny hop event is scheduled to take place today in public outside the entrance to the office of the Arbitration Commitee. Question: How many SNG vehicles and reporters will be out there?
In a separate article, Apple Daily also provided a medical explanation of how too many bunny hops can cause physical damage. The technical term is rhabdomyolysis. There are presently three ongoing court cases in which students were made to jump hundreds of times for minor infractions such as excessive hair length and contracted rhabdomyolysis.
Follow-up (Apple Daily):
[summary] As a result of the front page feature in Apple Daily, the scheduled bunny hop event by the teacher's 6-year-old daughter was cancelled.
The school principal claimed that he knew nothing as he was not present. "I only found out from the media that the teacher made a private agreement with the parent." But the parent re-iterated that at the conciliation meeting on June 1, the principal was present and the typed agreement letter as well as the bunny hop proposal came from the school. Her claim was also supported by a disgusted teacher who was aware of what happened.