Boy taken to ICU in China with life-threatening condition after teacher’s punishment of 200 deep squats for talking in class

A 14-year-old boy who was forced to do 200 deep squats as punishment by his teacher, ended up in ICU in a critical condition suffering from liver damage.

The ordeal of the boy, surnamed Liu, was shared on social media by his father after the teacher, surnamed Tao, issued the punishment for talking with classmates at Quan Tang Middle School in Changsha in southern China’s Hunan province.

Liu felt severe discomfort for days after the punishment and, despite telling teachers he had pains in his leg, he was made to walk laps in a PE class.

Ignoring Liu’s pain, a teacher called Wen, insisted that “slow jogging could alleviate muscle soreness and might help with muscle recovery.”

After Liu lost sensation in one leg, his worried mother rushed him to the People’s Hospital of Ningxiang where he was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and liver damage.

The boy was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis which can be fatal or cause permanent disability. Photo: Weixin

When the boy showed no improvement after three days and became critical he was transferred to the ICU at Xiangya Hospital Central South University where he received multiple sessions of plasma exchange and dialysis.

Rhabdo, as it is known, is a serious medical condition that can be fatal or result in permanent disability. It usually occurs when muscle tissue is damaged, and it can affect internal organs.

Liu’s mother said her son was previously in good health while local education authority said his condition has now improved and is no longer life-threatening.

The question of whether teachers should be allowed to discipline and punish their students is becoming an increasingly controversial topic in China. Photo: Shutterstock

An investigation by the local Education Bureau confirmed that Tao had indeed subjected Liu to 200 squats, and said the school will cover all medical expenses.

The school’s principal and the teachers involved have been suspended.

The incident provoked widespread outrage on Chinese social media platforms where commenters called the punishment “excessive” and said teacher Tao was “too harsh” and “lacking compassion”.

“In gyms, beginners usually start with a maximum of 30 squats. Experienced individuals only do three to four sets a day, with a daily limit of around 100. Only elite soldiers can do 180 squats in two minutes,” commented one.

Others highlighted previous incidents of severe punishment in schools in China, citing a recent report in the same city about a teacher at Bocai Meixihu Primary School who “fractured a student’s skull”.

In the incident that occurred on September 6, a nine-year-old primary schoolgirl was beaten by her teacher with a triangular scale ruler, resulting in a 5cm deep wound that damaged her skull.

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