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Monday,  Jun 26,2017,20:42 (GMT+7)

Bittersweet aftertaste

Son Nguyen
Friday,  Feb 24,2017,13:54 (GMT+7)
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Bittersweet aftertaste

Son Nguyen

The protracted saga at Nam Trung Yen Primary School in Hanoi City’s Cau Giay District finally unfolds, but the outcome can hardly be claimed as a happy ending though the school’s leaders have been dismissed and justice has prevailed. Nearly three months since a second-grader at the school was severely injured when he was hit by a taxicab transporting the school’s principal and vice principal into the school’s campus, the truth has now been verified, despite lies after lies by the school’s leaders and all their tricks to conceal the facts.

Cau Giay District authorities, upon the investigative results of police and the instruction of Hanoi City chairman Nguyen Duc Chung, this Tuesday delivered a decision relieving Principal Ta Thi Bich Ngoc and Vice Principal Nguyen Thi Huong of their roles at the school. The decision, announced at a meeting attended by all teachers of the school but the two leaders, cites several reasons, especially that they “have not been truthful when reporting on the accident…, gravely violating ethics of teachers.”

As covered in local media, the second-grader named Tran Chi Kien was playing on the campus of the school on December 1, 2016 when a taxicab entered and struck him down, breaking his leg. Principal Ngoc and Vice Principal Huong got off the cab but ignored the seven-year-old victim who was then rushed to hospital by a school guard. With queries from the victim’s father, the two leaders later explained that the pupil tumbled and broke his leg by himself while playing.

Facing the leaks that the boy was hit by the taxicab, the two leaders sought to conceal the facts by pressuring all teachers to lie and even conducted a survey among the school’s teachers and pupils who falsely stated in the survey paper that they did not see the taxicab entering the school that day. In working sessions with investigators, both leaders have vehemently denied they had been on the cab although evidence gathered by the police pointed the other way. It was not until when some teachers at the school had revealed the truthful facts to reporters and when the top police official of the capital city early this week asserted that the accident did occur and the city government decided to take a tough stance against the two educators.

What has really troubled the public is not the accident but the way the two leaders of the school behaved.

Local media has expressed joy at the outcome, saying justice has finally been done.

Dan Tri in an article on the conclusion says that skepticism toward justice has now been removed, citing the opinion of the victim’s father Tran Chi Dung. He says that the past three months, for him, is a journey to seek justice, not a battle over who would win or who would lose. And now, “I have been able to take a sigh of relief,” he is quoted in the news website.

In Thanh Nien, Dung says he is still optimistic about teachers. “No matter what has happened, I still believe that being an educator is a noble profession.”

Meanwhile, Tuoi Tre remarks that the decision to discipline the headmaster and her subordinate has helped ease public concerns and worries in society.

But despite such positive remarks, the aftertaste is also very bitter.

Many teachers of the school burst into tears at the meeting, saying the school’s reputation has been tarnished and that they have been viewed as cowards for failure to speak out their minds in the first place, says Tien Phong.

Tuoi Tre says the discipline is a bitter lesson for the two educators. The accident could have been settled in a simple manner, but their wrongful steps over the past three months have resulted in a dear cost for them.

The two have conducted a survey to prove that they were not involved in the accident, have cheated other colleagues at the school, and have made false reports to authorities. The two teachers’ journey to shun responsibility has shattered the confidence of other teachers, parents and students, says Tuoi Tre.

Dan Tri reports how the victim’s mother, prior to the final conclusion, felt disappointed with the school for a cover-up, for shunning responsibility, for showing inhumanity. “There is only one truth, please do not invent another one,” Dan Tri reports, citing her Facebook status. The news website notes that the school’s leaders have lied to the end, and even when challenged by the police, the headmaster still said she would be totally responsible for her reports on the case.

Infornet comments that the two teachers with their repeated lies have pushed the situation beyond their own control, and questions the teachers’ moral values because even now, “when the truth has been ascertained, the teachers still fail to make apologies.”

Tuoi Tre remarks that the case has evolved to a point where it is no longer about the settlement of the consequence of an accident, but deals with the merits of teachers and their conscience, and the belief that is under tenterhooks if wrongdoers are not properly punished.

Authorities of Cau Giay District say that they are still pressing ahead with the case, which may constitute a criminal offense on the part of the two educators.

The victim’s father Tran Chi Dung, recalling the multiple obstacles he has had to cover on the journey to find justice, says in Dan Tri that “mistakes are simply sins, but covering up mistakes is a crime.”

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