A 14-year-old schoolboy in eastern China has died after allegedly being told to stand out in the freezing cold as punishment by a teacher who went out drinking and forgot about him.

Zhang Jixing left his dormitory in Wujin school, Weifang City in Shandong Province on 17 December to go shopping.

The first-year middle school student was caught outside by duty teacher Hu Daofa, who hit him for violating the rules and told him to stand outside.

Students say Hu then went out drinking and forgot Zhang, below, whose body was found lying the gutter the next morning. The temperature in the area that night was 14F (-10C).

zhang jixin

Hu has denied all allegations against him. Two school principals and a teacher have been suspended following the incident.

One teacher was quoted as saying Zhang had “died very comfortably”, but it was not clear if Hu was the one who made the remark.

A police investigation into the death is ongoing. Police told reporters that: “We are leaning towards the fact that Zhang Jixin died because of a potential disease, and we are not ruling out that frostbite had an effect.”

The school has said that Zhang had recently asked for time off several times, but his mother has denied he had any health problems.

Zhang’s stepfather, Zhang Benyong, told reporters that after the incident the family had received a private settlement from the school and relevant state departments.  He added: “Whether if the money is enough of not, this thing is over, we will not hold anyone responsible.”

The boy’s mother, who also spoke to reporters, said: “Please don’t mention how much money, whenever we talk about how much money we feel like as if we sold our child for money.” No further details were available about the settlement.

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