A 12 year-old jumped to his death at his apartment building in Guangzhou’s Huadu District Nov. 20 after being scolded by his teacher for failing to complete his homework, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.
At around 7:15 am, Xiao Liang left his home to set off for school, having given no sign that his mood was any different than usual. After Xiao Liang jumped out of the window on the 16th floor of the building where he lived, the security guard found his body and immediately called 120.
His younger brothers, twins who were two years younger than him, approached the spot from which he had jumped. They saw his bag on the floor and next to it was his exercise book lying open at a page where Xiao Liang had written: “I am off to die. Bye bye.”
Paramedics pronounced the boy dead at the scene and police ruled out the possibility of murder.
The boy’s mother had received a call from his teacher the day before saying he had not completed his homework. She told her son he must do better in the future. The mother told media that her son was a clever but lazy student who would skip a task he found too difficult. She said she herself was not very educated and could not help her 12 year-old son with his homework.
Xiao Liang’s family said he had shown no sign of being unhappy but his mother admitted that because she and her husband worked such long hours, the children were mostly reared by their grandmother.
Reporters from the paper went to the boy’s school, Fenghuang Bilingual School on Longzhu Road, but at the time the newspaper went to print, no teacher had commented on the death. Xiao Liang’s classmates said they had not noticed anything strange about his behaviour the day before.
Lots of people had an explanation as to how this tragedy was made possible. The head of the Baiyun District Early Learning Centre, Mr. Yang, urged parents and teachers to demand the best from children but not forget that children’s self-esteem is important and must not be damaged.
An expert from the Guangdong Education Research Centre told the paper that, like the recent marathon death, this was a sign that Chinese society was placing too much emphasis on grades at the expense of overall development.
It also emerged that, on the day he died, test scores were released that showed that Xiao Liang scored 95 in a recent quiz. The class average was 88.5.