A teacher in south-western China has been called out for forcing pupils to drop their mobile phones in a bowl of water as punishment for bringing them to school.
Heartbreaking video footage from the Mingya primary school in Xiuwen County, Guizhou Province shows the children reluctantly carrying out the order.
One by one, they line up to slip their phones into the water in a bowl which seems to be on the teacher’s desk.
At least a dozen more phones can be seen sitting beside the plastic bowl apparently awaiting their turn to be throw in as well.
Parents had reportedly agreed to the extreme punishment in a bid to crack down on distracting mobile phone use in classrooms.
Pupils also face new punishments for smoking and forming romantic relationships.
But the harsh treatment sparked online controversy after the video of the punishment surfaced on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.
Douyin user ‘brother nine’ commented: “Isn’t this bought with money? It’s true that students are required to be motivated, but this method is too extreme. These are all money wasted.”
Another user titled ‘Number 7’ wrote: “It is okay to collect the phones, but soaking them in water is too much. The money we spend on buying mobile phones doesn’t just fall from the sky, it’s also paid for by sweat!!”
Afterwards, school staff told local media the teacher had been “criticised and educated”.
They admitted that the punishment was “inappropriate” and said parents would be compensated for any losses.
The school added: “The school cannot ruin the belongings of pupils, even with the parent’s permission.”