A kindergarten principal in Shenzhen, China has been fired after severe backlash from a back-to-school event she organized at the beginning of this month. Principal Lai Rong decided to host a celebratory ceremony at the Xinshahui Kindergarten to welcome children back, an event featured at most Chinese schools. The event was to showcase various performers, speakers, and special guests to entertain both the kids and their families. However, one act in particular provoked the ire of many parents in attendance: pole dancing.
A Chinese kindergarten welcomed children back to school at the beginning of term with a pole dancing display https://t.co/Ptr7sMUe76— CNN International (@cnni) September 5, 2018
Videos posted on Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo showed a half-clothed woman in hot pants dancing on a pole in very suggestive fashion as children watched in astonishment. In the videos, you can see parents shake their heads in disapproval and cover their kids’ eyes as they begin to imitate the dancer’s sensual moves. Many of those parents continued to repost the videos on social media as they voiced their fury: “Pole dancing at a school welcome ceremony? How can I trust my children with them? I’m going to pull my kid out and ask for a refund,” and, “Is the principal an idiot?”
Arranging for a pole-dancing show on the first day of kindergarten cost this Chinese principal her job pic.twitter.com/EbFJA6L63X— South China Morning Post (@SCMPNews) September 5, 2018
On the other side of the argument, Michael Standaert, an American journalist based in China, called out the ludicrous nature of the situation in a series of tweets. He noted that prior to the pole dancing performance, the school had seen 10 days of military activities with “displays of machine guns and mortars at the door.” He noted that when his wife called to complain, Lai Rong dismissed her, saying that it was a good form of exercise, and hung up.
After the initial wave of indignation, Rong attempted to save face by sending a text message out to all the parents apologizing for the “horrific viewing experience” and for not screening the dance before it was performed. It’s unclear how she thought pole dancing was going to entail anything other than exactly what was seen. Mere hours after she sent the text, it was announced that she had been terminated and that the Xinshahui Kindergarten was under investigation. In an interview with the Global Times, a publication funded by the Chinese government, Lai Rong said, “I may as well be dead. I already lost the hope to live.”
What do you think about Rong’s actions and their consequences? Is the punishment just, too harsh, or not harsh enough? Let us know in the comments down below!