While details are still unclear, Chao is thought to have been responsible for giving the student the sleeping pills and has also been accused of improper corporal punishment of students.
Chao was originally detained by police for questioning on May 18th and arrested, but was released on 20,000 NT bail. The second round of searches, as part of which the other teachers were detained, was carried out at 6 AM on June 6th.
It is unclear what Chao’s motivations were, though Chao may have meant to pacify the students with sleeping bills. Nevertheless, the incident perhaps points to the larger issue of abuse of children in Taiwanese schools.
Corporal punishment in Taiwan made international headlines in 2017 after a seven-year-old student practicing judo died from a brain hemorrhage after being body-slammed a total of 27 times by his instructor and other students. The instructor, surnamed Ho, was not a licensed instructor but was teaching students their second week of judo classes.
After seventy days in a coma, Huang was eventually taken off life support and died. Ho was sentenced to nine years in jail for violating Article 112 of the Protection of Children and Youth Welfare and Rights Act and Article 277 of the Criminal Code.
As for the six-year-old child, surnamed Wu, she was tied to a chair for a three-hour epileptic episode and was not treated or taken to the hospital. This led to her sustaining permanent brain injuries.
More generally, then, Taiwan has issues with regard to corporal punishment against young students. This perhaps extends to the recent incidents in Banqiao, then, in that Chao may have been drugging his students to keep them incapacitated or as punishment, based on other actions. Perhaps what this points to is the need to reform punitive measures in schools, in that this is continuously an issue in educational establishments in Taiwan.
What is hopeful is greater discussion of such issues regarding corporal punishment. This takes place in a similar timeframe to greater scrutiny of cases of sexual assault and harassment in educational institutions in Taiwan. It is still to be seen whether there will be any systematic attempt at reform of what is clearly a recurring issue in Taiwan.