WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: A 14-year-old student in Wuhan caught playing poker in school took his own life earlier this month moments after a public dressing down from his mother.
Video surveillance shows the boy’s mother angrily approach her son in a corridor on the fifth floor of his school in the Jiangxia district of the Chinese city on September 17, Chinese state media reported.
She had been called to the school by the head teacher to discuss her son’s punishment.
In the video, the woman can be seen slapping the boy twice in front of other students, pushing his head and appearing to berate him for his behaviour.
After the mother walks away with another woman, the boy is seen standing alone under instruction from teachers.
Three minutes after the altercation, the boy moved from his standing position near a ledge and took his own life as passing students tried to save him.
Video of the incident surfaced on Chinese social media, prompting tens of millions of views on Chinese Twitter-like site Weibo.
The incident has become a divisive topic on the site since, with more than half a billion interactions regarding the boy’s death.
Millions criticised the mother for publicly attacking and shaming her son, saying she neglected her son’s emotional wellbeing in front of other students.
“We must find a way to educate our children, not beat and scold them,” one person wrote.
However, others called for the mother not be blamed for her son’s death, saying teenagers are prone to impulsive acts amid extreme emotions during adolescence.
Chinese parents are traditionally stricter on children than those in western cultures, often striving for academic success for their children – a desire which was only heightened by the one-child policy.
“It’s clear that Chinese parents tend to spend more time pushing their kids to study, practice and achieve,” biological anthropologist Dr Gwen Dewar, author of site Parenting Science, explains.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.