TAIEPI, TAIWAN -- A group of Shihpai junior high school students received corporal punishment from school administrators for buying lunch from off-campus vendors, according to the United Evening News.
The students were given between 10 and 20 lashes with a paddle on Monday after they were found to have bought boxed lunches from somewhere other than the school's student union.
Boys took their lashes on their hind quarters while girls received theirs on their calves.
According to dean of students Huang Hong-ming, only between seven or eight students were punished.
Huang said that they all chose paddlings instead of other forms of punishment, including having a demerit entered into their permanent records.
The dean explained that in administering the punishment the school was simply complying with Taipei City Education Department rules prohibiting students from buying boxed lunches from off-campus vendors.
Huang said the school encouraged students to bring their own lunches to school, adding that up to 80 percent of all students at the school bring bagged lunches with them.
For other students, the school has contracted different vendors to provide three to four different types of boxed lunches through the school's student union.
Huang said the school was just trying to protect students from eating anything unsanitary. He pointed out that the school would be ultimately responsible if a student came down with food poisoning.
However, officials at the Ministry of Education said they did not approve of corporal punishment of students.
Taipei City Education Department director Wu Ching-chi said that due to health and sanitation concerns, his office does not encourage students to order lunches from vendors outside the confines of school walls.
At the same time, though, education officials have issued repeated reminders that corporal punishment, once a common means of discipline, is no longer to be used on pupils.
Wu promised an investigation into the incident.
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