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Recent spate of teenage suicides prompts call to reflect on education methods
Five days after a high-school student jumped to his death from a flyover, another teenager was reported to have committed suicide by drinking pesticide and recording the incident in a video.
Recent incidents of teenage suicides have sparked huge discussions among Chinese netizens, who are asking why these incidents happened and how to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again, or at least, reduce them.
Footage from surveillance video has gone viral on Chinese social media, showing a white car suddenly stopping in busy traffic on a flyover. After a few seconds, a teenage boy rushes out of the car to the edge of the flyover.
A woman gets out of the vehicle and chases after him.
Seemingly without any hesitation, the boy jumps off the high flyover. Everything happened so quickly that the woman was unable to grab hold of the boy.
The 17-year-old teenager was a Grade Two student at a vocational training school and the woman was his mother.
Before jumping from the flyover, the boy had been criticized by his mother for quarreling with other students at school.
Only five days later, a Grade Three student at a middle school in Suining, Sichuan Province, drank a bottle of pesticide and shot an eight-minute video before drinking the chemical.
According to the boy's mother, surnamed Wang, the boy's teacher had called Wang that day, saying that her son had fought at school and failed his Chinese examination with a score of "only 80 points."
The boy then flew into rage and said the teacher had wronged him again.
Wang and her husband believe that the school and the teacher should be held responsible for their son's death, but the local education bureau confirmed that this suicide had nothing to do with the school and teacher after an investigation was carried out.
Opinion on social media is divided on the issue. Some of them criticized the two boys, saying their minds were too weak, and collapsed in the face of a little difficulty. They were gone but their parents and families will live with a lot of pain for the rest of their lives.
However, other netizens and some experts strongly disagreed, believing that these tragedies should be blamed on parents and teachers who use incorrect education methods and do not pay close attention to teenagers' feelings.
A father of a middle school student surnamed Fang, living in Beijing, said that in his opinion, parents use methods that are too impatient and radical to communicate with these teenagers.
Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, said that education about life at school and at home is very important for children's growth.
"Life education given at school and at home should not only teach theories to students, but should be close to their daily lives," Xiong said, "On the topic of suicide, parents and teachers can tell stories about cherishing life to children when taking them to travel or watching TV together, so as to subconsciously influence them."
And that’s People’s Daily Tonight. Thanks for joining us.
(Produced by Han Xiaomeng and Wang Xiangyu)