A kindergarten teacher in Ho Chi Minh City was sentenced Friday to four years in jail for confining a boy in an elevator in September last year, causing severe injuries.
Tran Thi Xuan Nu was found guilty of "deliberately causing injuries" after she punished Le Quang Vinh, who refused to eat his lunch, by putting him in an elevator, the Tuoi Tre sai newspaper said.
Vinh was 4 at the time.
When the elevator opened, the boy was found unconscious with broken bones and bleeding injuries. The skin on his head had rubbed off in several places.
Earlier investigations showed that the elevator, which was used to move food at Hoa Lan Kindergarten in Tan Phu District, is of the open type.
It was covered by a rough wall on one side and the boy was pressed against it when the elevator moved. His arms and legs also got entangled in the cables used to operate the elevator.
Nu said she knew what the elevator was used for, but did not realize it could hurt Vinh so badly.
"I intended to scare him, I didn't think that (he would be hurt)," the teacher said at the hearing which was attended by many teachers from the kindergarten, Vinh, and his parents.
Nu said Vinh had refused to eat by himself and resisted when she tried to feed him, so she had carried Vinh to the elevator and pressed the start button.
Her lawyer pleaded that the charge be reduced to "accidentally causing injuries," but it was rejected.
The judges said that Nu should have known the risks of putting a child who was too little to take care of himself in an elevator not used for people.
She has acted against the spirit of education and undermined the reputation of the vocation, they said.
Vinh on Friday had a scar more than ten centimeters long near his ear, a big scar on his head where hair has not grown yet and several small scars on his face.
Du Thi Thanh Thuy, the boy's mother who had asked that the case be investigated, told the court she could never forget how "terrible" her son looked after the accident.
She said the physical injuries have healed but the psychological damage would be very difficult to fix.
Vinh's parents say he has been especially scared of dark after the incident, gets frightened when hears the word "Miss" and insists on not going to school.
He has stayed at home for the past year and become more violent with friends, the parents said.
The family has so far been compensated with VND140 million (US$6,800) by Nu and the kindergarten.