A kindergarten principal in China lost her job this week after welcoming children back to school by inviting a pole dancer to perform on the school’s opening day .
Videos on Twitter and China’s popular microblog site, Weibo, show hundreds of kids, aged between 3 and 6, and parents at the Xinshahui kindergarten in Shenzhen, the booming industrial hub in southern China's Guangdong province, watching a female pole dancer performing in the school’s courtyard.
An American journalist, Michael Standaert, was surprised by the school’s unconventional ceremonies when he took his children to the private kindergarten.
“Who would think this is a good idea?” Standaert wrote on Twitter as he posted a video of the pole dance. “We’re trying to pull the kids out of the school, and get our tuition back.”
In another video, two boys can be seen swinging with the music excitedly while two women try to pull kids away from the scene. BuzzFeed News has reached out to Standaert for further comment.
Standaert’s videos attracted lots of attention online, causing the Bao’an educational bureau, which administers the area where the school operates, to issue a statement on Weibo and announce the dismissal of the principal, Lai Rong.
“After our investigation, it is confirmed that the school invited the company to perform pole dance with their own equipment,” the statement wrote. “We consider the decision inappropriate.”
Lai issued an apology to parents through a group message on WeChat, explaining that she originally planned to liven up the mood at the school by inviting professional dancers and she didn’t think through the contents of the performance.
“It was a very terrible viewing experience for kids and parents, and I sincerely apologize for that,” Lai wrote in the statement.
Lai later told Chinese media that she is a fan of pole dancing, and considers it a sport. She complained that since there are global competitions dedicated to pole dance, she should have been allowed to introduce it to the kids.
“Why can’t I introduce pole dance to the kids when there are global competitions dedicated to it?” Lai was quoted in a post on Sohu, a Chinese news website.
Online, the choice of a pole dancer for kindergarten students attracted a mixed reaction.
However, many people on China's Weibo posted to say it was inappropriate to organize such performance at a kindergarten, and agreed with the decision to fire the principal.
“I think firing the principal is the right decision, because from her comments, it shows that she doesn’t understand what education is and how to be a proper teacher.”
“Please consider what is the appropriate age for spectators of such performance."
“Even if pole dancing is a sport, this is not the right occasion for it.”