Photos: High school students burn books to protest excessive school fees
Senior students at a boarding school in Jingshan, Hubei province tore up and set fire to tons of books Thursday to express their outrage after they were told to pay 700 yuan (US$111) as educational charges. The accusation was soon echoed by junior students, who assembled in the middle of the evening study session and confronted the school authorities despite teachers’ effort to bring them back into classrooms. Many students said that it was not the first time that the school arbitrarily collected fees without any reasonable explanation, and that mass destruction of books finally let them release their pent-up frustrations.
On April 5, senior students (equivalent of Grade 12) at Jingshan No.1 Middle school were told during the evening study session to pay 700 yuan for reference books. Some students refused to pay the fee, tore up their textbooks and reference books and threw shreds into the courtyard of the school building in protest. The move soon drew a large crowd from junior classes. Then the complete mayhem broke out, in which hundreds of books were burned.
In a previous collection of fees, the school listed items, including, “exam answering sheets, 6 yuan; notebooks for excellent answers as well as bad answers: 24 yuan; scratch paper and notebooks, 12 yuan; printing and binding, 38 yuan; air-conditioning maintenance, 15 yuan; multimedia device maintenance, 15 yuan; weekly exercises: 45 yuan.” At the end of the list, the school put down the total: 520 yuan.
On the evening of April 5, the school tried to collect another 700 yuan from its senior students. Some rejected the demand point-blank and questioned its legitimacy in the face of their teachers, whereas some others gathered outside the classroom and started to destroy their reference books.
A student told the reporter that they did this to vent their resentment. The school invents various kinds of reasons for charging fees every month, and when it collects fees, it just writes on the blackboard in each classroom the items, the total amount, and the deadline, and never even gives a printed receipt, which leaves parents baffled when they dip into their pockets.
He also said that many reference books that the school insists on buying do not really help their study. Some books are on arts subject, but students majoring in science subject are also required to buy. Besides, printing quality of some studying materials is really bad.
According to a senior student surnamed Li, the junior and freshmen classes were ordered to pay 400 yuan on the same evening.
A student surnamed Wang recalled, “So many books were discarded. It looked like snowing, and the books covered the entire floor.”
Teachers appealed to students to go back to their classrooms but to no avail. The situation remained deadlocked for quite a while. The student crowd did not disperse until the school authorities promised that a satisfactory explanation would be given soon.
Li Zexin, the principal of Jingshan No. 1 Middle School, admitted that the school had charged fees that are unauthorized by the government, which led to extreme reactions from the students. He said the school board convened immediately after they discovered the problem and has devised a new fee program as the remedy.
While the majority of discussion is in staunch support of the students’ protest, some voices refers to the burning of books “overreaction”. A net user who goes by the name “Qian Qian” commented, “Nowadays, the gao kao (National College Entrance Exam) is very stressful. You are under stress. The school is under stress too. Focus on study at school! Even though some fees are unreasonable, you should have reported it through the right channel instead of resorting to extreme reaction to protest.”
Selected comments from NetEase
网易吉林省手机网友 ip：117.136.*.*2012-04-07 08:14:06 发表
Bullshit. It’s all about corruption of school leaders. It is the same at our school. The school authorities successfully manipulate parents’ mindset of paying all fees in order to stay, and charge fees, reckless of any standard. All high schools are like that. Rich people probably feel nothing. What about poor students? Is money that parents have painstakingly saved from skimping on food only for school leaders to buy villas? The school leaders can get benefits from any fee they collect.
恶心的世界 [网易辽宁省网友]：2012-04-07 08:16:10 发表
That Qian Qian must be the wife or the mistress of the flunkey principal, right! Any one can prove it?!
罗密施耐德 [网易上海市网友]：2012-04-07 08:23:52 发表
The so-called education is funding teachers with students’ money. Everything taught in class is negligible. The history is a lie. The Chinese literature is stereotyped writing. English lessons only teach grammar. Physics and chemistry lessons are made up of all simplistic problems. Algebra and geometry may be a little useful. Music lessons are too narrow. Fine arts lessons are too shallow. The P.E. lessons are just for show. (And no one even bother to question it during his ten years of painstaking study)
网易中国网友 ip：182.127.*.*2012-04-07 08:18:39 发表
Every time I see this type of news, I feel a non-descript rush of excitement. I recall that back in those days, my buddies and I planned to boycott classes too……
殇城殇情 [网易山东省济南市网友]：2012-04-07 08:13:51 发表
Loose regulation. No outlet to air grievances. Only violence can arouse sympathy. Such a legal system is really pathetic.
网易加拿大网友 ip：128.189.*.*2012-04-07 08:18:33 发表
“Net user: Shoulda reacted with rationality” – When rationality is not enough to solve the problem, irrational behavior will arise sooner or later.
冷眼看風雲1 [网易亚太地区网友]：2012-04-07 08:20:11 发表
They should not meekly submit to oppression and maltreatment.
Will those who are capable of tearing up and burning books have any future? If you think the fees are unreasonable, you can appeal to the education bureau. But as a student, you just shouldn’t have destroyed those useful books.
If appealing to the education bureau really worked, would they burn the books??
网易中国网友 [zhangbin112345] 的原贴：3
The one on the first floor (The first commenter in the line), you think those books are useful???
网易广东省东莞市网友 [Caspar673] 的原贴：4
It seems that the one on the first floor has been taught into a stupid cunt~!
The fourth floor has nailed it. End of my evaluation.
网易湖北省荆门市网友 ip：219.138.*.*2012-04-08 21:20:56 发表
Who do you think you are? You will help them appeal? You are capable of that? You think anyone would bother to answer your needs?
网易山西省太原市手机网友 ip：221.204.*.*2012-04-08 21:46:45 发表
A strong China is not possible without strong youth. The students at this school is sturdy and hot-blooded. Awesome.
网易江苏省徐州市网友 [onehwtxy] 的原贴：1
I guess the real reason why students burnt books is they dislike going to school. Questioning excessive fees is only ammunition accepted by the students, the society and their families!
网易北美地区网友 [wumao117] 的原贴：1
There is not yet a real superpower that uses education as a means to make profit.
And now there is China. 现在有了中国
But in China, they’ve done it! What an amazing land!
网易北京市手机网友 [zzqzn] 的原贴：4
I expect these kids to save China.