Principals, teacher jailed for fatal China school stampede

Beijing, June 5 (IANS) Two principals and one teacher were handed prison sentences ranging from one to two years on Friday in Yunnan province in south-west China after a stampede on a school campus resulted in the death of six students last year.

The Panlong District People’s Court in the provincial capital Kunming ruled that the educators were guilty of culpable negligence, Xinhua news agency reported.

The court held that they were “directly responsible” for the tragedy and were aware of safety issues but had failed to take action, resulting in more than 30 students sustaining injuring and six dying in the September 26, 2014, incident.

The tragedy occurred as students were exiting the teachers’ dormitory after a nap period.

One of two large cushions, which had been placed against a corridor wall by physical education teacher Li Pengcheng, fell and blocked access and egress. Some children stumbled over this cushion and toppled over each other, leading to the stampede.

Li was sentenced to one year at the trial. He said he would not appeal.

The principal Li Lan, who was given a prison term of two years, and deputy principal Yang Lin, who was sentenced to one year and six months, said they were still considering whether to lodge an appeal.

The two school principals had allowed students to nap in the teachers’ dormitories, which do not meet the standards for students.

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