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Mother posts controversial ad to disclose daughter's bully

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese mother yesterday took an unusual and controversial step to fight back against a boy who allegedly bullied her daughter in school, placing an ad in a major newspaper to bring the issue to the public's attention.

The half-page ad, which ran on the front page of the Chinese-language Liberty Times, was titled “a petition letter to Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin” from “a mother with an extremely painful heart.”

In the ad, the mother said her teenage daughter has been verbally abused by a classmate at Taipei Municipal Dunhua Junior High School for a long time.

She accused school officials of failing to take action even after she repeatedly reported the abuse and suggested that the school may be trying to sweep the issue under the rug because the bully is the son of a teacher at the school.

The ad was seen as controversial because it disclosed the full name of the alleged underage bully.

Tan Yi-ching, an official with the Taipei City Department of Education, expressed regret over the ad and said disclosing the full name of an underage student could violate the law and hurt those involved.

Tan said he empathized with the mother, but stressed that his department has guidelines on preventing bullying and that such incidents should be handled on campuses.

He said the school will hold a meeting on Dec. 10 to address the issue, and his department will have someone investigate the incident and see if the school handled the matter inappropriately.

“(The bully) would curse my daughter in front of the teacher, using profane and vicious language,” the unnamed mother told reporters yesterday.

In the ad, the mother also said that her daughter was promised an apology during a school meeting on Dec. 5, but the following day the mother of her daughter's classmate called and said her son did not admit to the verbal abuse.

“If your child did not get an apology after being bullied, could you accept that?” the mother asked the Taipei mayor.

School principal Kao Min-hui confirmed that a meeting was held early December, at which an apology was mentioned, but said the parents on the two sides “held different views.”

When asked about the conclusions of meetings held previously in regard to the alleged bullying incidents, Kao said the issues would be addressed at the upcoming meeting, and she “could not comment on them” at the moment.

Some Internet users disagreed with the mother's actions to post an ad, while more directed their anger at the school for allegedly failing to deal with the problem.

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