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Hau calls for stronger response over girl's death from neglect

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin Saturday panned what he called overly light punishment against school officials who failed to take action that may have helped save the life of an 8-year-old girl who died from apparent malnutrition.

In a strongly worded comment to reporters, Hau said that Hulu Elementary School Principal Chi Lu-jen “has to” be removed from her post and the disciplinary actions announced Friday should be replaced with harsher penalties.

Chi and her school in Shilin District are at the center of the controversy in the death of the apparent victim of abuse, who was found dead two weeks ago weighing only 8 kilograms and having never gone to school as is legally required.

Hulu Elementary School has been blamed for not reporting to authorities after the girl failed to show up for enrollment upon reaching school age in 2012.

At the time, the girl's family told city officials that she had moved with her mother to another district.

Hau said that in a matter as grave as the death of a little girl, officials who failed to their jobs and follow up with missing students should be subject to the strictest of penalties.

He called for Chi to be removed since she is “no longer qualified” to be a principal and voiced disapproval of the way municipal departments have handled the case.

The city's Department of Education announced Friday a preliminary decision on actions to be taken over the incident, including a reprimand for Chi and a minor demerit for school officials responsible for enrollment.

The Department of Civil Affairs is also planning punishments for officials at district and household registration offices.

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