A 14-year-old boy jumped to his death from a school building in the Chinese city of Wuhan after his mother slapped him at school, sparking a heated debate among Chinese netizens about parental treatment of teenagers.
The parents of the grade nine student at No. 1 Middle School at Wuhan Jiangxia district was asked by the headteacher to come to school for a meeting after the boy was caught playing poker on Thursday, state-run Global Times reported on Saturday.
Surveillance video showed the boy being slapped twice on the face by his mother in the hallway of the school building.
After his mother left, Zhang was seen standing silently for three minutes, then climbed over the railing on the fifth floor and jumped. Passing students tried to stop him.
The boy surnamed Zhang and two other students were caught playing cards in their classroom and the parents of the three students were asked to come to school to determine how the students should be disciplined.
Local education and judicial authorities are investigating the tragic incident.
The boy's death triggered a huge public reaction and became one of the most viewed and discussed posting on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with over 490 million views.
"Adolescents have strong self-esteem, which requires respectful communication and education. Parents should not beat their children in public," a netizen commented.
Some netizens said the parents should not be entirely blamed as teens often struggle psychologically with extreme emotions and temperament.
"His mother is the saddest, please don't hurt her any more. Don't criticize the boy because we do not know how many times he has been treated like that or how else he suffered. Society should care more about the psychological health of teenagers and learn more science-based education methods," another netizen wrote.