A middle school in Qingyuan, Guangdong province, is amending a set of rules that restrict a wide range of interactions between male and female students, after images of the document were uploaded online that touched off a heated debate.
The rule, formulated by the administration of Qingxin District No 1 Middle School, prohibits male and female students from going in and out of the school canteen together, getting food for each other at the canteen, using a meal tray together or feeding each other.
The rules, dated March 8, also say that no student may carry personal belongs, such as bag or jacket, for another student of the opposite sex.
Giving or accepting a gift from a member of the opposite sex is banned, along with lingering on school roads, playgrounds and in dormitories.
Physical contact of any kind between male and female students, including hugging and kissing, are "strictly prohibited".
Students of the opposite sex will fail their comprehensive quality assessment and receive serious warnings if they are seen riding a bicycle or motorcycle together, or if one sits on the lap of the other on a bus. Their parents will be notified and talked to by the school authorities.
Punishments for violating the rules range from verbal admonishment to demerits and even expulsion.
The rules were formulated to regulate the behavior of male and female students during puberty, and to target abnormal campus interaction - behaviors outside the boundaries of traditional morality - as well as frivolous or uncivilized conduct, according to the text.
They were meant for internal discussion and have not been implemented yet, the school administration said.
The administration admitted that the wording of the rules needed to be improved.
The Qingxin district education bureau said the school will make the rules public after they've been amended.
Such rules are unnecessary and discriminatory, according to Xiong Bingqi, deputy dean of the 21st Century Education Research Institute. Any school rule should comply with the education law and safeguard students' rights, including the right to interact with others, he said, adding that students should be guided, not put under restrictive rules.
In the case of behaviors deemed inappropriate, the students involved should be educated, he said.
"Many schools make rules to focus students' attention solely on study, as well as for the convenience of school management, neither of which serves students' development needs during puberty," he added.
If rules are thought to be necessary to deal with certain special circumstances, they should be discussed by parents for broader understanding and input, he said.