The management board of a middle school in Ho Chi Minh City has made a controversial decision to take harsh disciplinary action against an eighth grader for slandering a popular K-pop idol group on social media.
N.H.M.Q., an eighth-grade student at Ngo Quyen Middle School in Tan Binh District, is suspended from class from November 6 to 9 and has had his ‘moral score’ lowered for the rest of the semester.
Q. was also asked to read his self-criticism letter in front of the whole school on Tuesday.
The young boy received the punishment after he was discovered creating a Facebook Page named “Anti BTS in VietNam” and publishing a series of posts and photos aimed at insulting K-pop idol boy band BTS and their fandom, ARMY.
Nguyen Ngoc Thu, vice-principal of the school, said he was made aware of the incident after receiving tip-offs from some students and alumni, as well as getting several text messages from those who claimed to be BTS fans.
These fans also left messages on the school’s official Facebook Page, demanding that Q. make an apology, Thu added.
During a teacher-parent meeting on Monday morning, Q.’s parents told the school board they had also received similar text messages.
According to the vice-principal, the stern punishment was intended to “deter, educate, and protect” the young student.
The decision to punish Q. was not motivated by the popularity of the K-pop group, he added.
Bui Quang Linh, a father in Hanoi, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper he believes the disciplinary action is too strict and can leave the student feeling resentful.
Nguyen Thi Thao, a parent in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, aired a similar opinion, stating that the boy is only in eighth grade and is unable to fully understand the consequences of his actions and words.
“Implementing such a strict penalty is not always a good way to educate students,” Nguyen Doan Trang, headmistress of a middle school in the southern metropolis, remarked.
“The disciplinary action should be based on suitable procedures and regulations.”
Tran Khac Huy, head of the office of education and training in Tan Binh District, said he is waiting for the school to submit a full report of the incident before making an evaluation of the punishment.