crime

Teacher found guilty of negligence over pool death of 3-year-old boy

27 Comments

The Yokohama District Court has found a kindergarten teacher guilty of negligence over the death of a 3-year-old boy who drowned in a swimming pool in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, in July, 2011.

The defendant, Yukie Taira, 23, was ordered to pay 500,000 yen in damages over the death of Takahiro Irei, TBS reported Tuesday. Taira was the boy's teacher at the time of the accident.

The court heard that Irei was one of 30 children playing in the pool at around 11:30 a.m. under the supervision of Taira. The pool was around 20-30 cm deep and five meters in diameter.

The boy was not seen to be struggling at the time he drowned, but after the other children left the pool, staff noticed him floating face down in the water. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The court ruling said that Taira broke basic rules as a kindergarten teacher, and said she wasn’t trained enough to protect children in a pool, which should be taken into consideration in future.

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27 Comments
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Is the kindergarten being held responsible too? Or just the teacher? I mean, one teacher supervising 30 children in a pool is not enough!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Very sad, and that payout is chump change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The kindergarten's fault; not the teacher's.

Ridiculous.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ms. Alexander - I agree, MORE staff are needed for 30 children, but actually in Kindergartens, the legal teacher to student ratio is 1 teacher to 30 children.

The Kindergarten could be criticized for choosing an inexperienced teacher - if he is 23 now, he would have only been 20 at the time of the accident and fresh out of college. They would argue that the national shortage of kindergarten and nursery teachers caused this problem.

BUT in terms of the law, they were doing nothing wrong.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

KG has to be mostly at fault, IMO! 30 screaming kids???

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@kimuzukashiiiii

an inexperienced teacher - if he is 23 now, he would have only been 20 at the time of the accident and fresh out of college

I could be wrong but it would seem the kindergarten teacher was a "she"...

Taira broke basic rules as a kindergarten teacher, and said she wasn’t trained enough to protect children in a pool,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have stated many times that day care and kindergartens are a bad thing and yet again i am proved correct.

-16 ( +1 / -16 )

The kindergarten should have been ordered to pay damages (not the teacher), and they should have been ordered to pay A LOT more, not just a measly 500,000 which probably would not even cover funeral costs. What a slap in the face to the poor parents. I would be livid!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I feel sorry for the teacher. She should never have been told to control 30 kids in water, and is probably never going to forgive herself.

The only thing you can hope is that people everywhere learn how easy it is for a tragedy to occur.

What a sad story. You can never be too careful when it comes to little kids, esp around water.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

No one's at fault. Accidents do happen. That's life.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I although 30 children might be ok for a classroom, it should be illegal for this ratio at a pool. Kids that age are very energetic, and that many could easily lead to an accident. i agree with others that the kindergarten should be held accountable. No money can compensate for the loss of a child, but I think the point of lawsuits like this is to make people notice and change existing laws and practices to prevent these tragic accidents as much as possible.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

how could a 3-year old have drowned in 20-30 cm of water? at that age, he would have been around 110-120 cm. unless he was held or pushed down, it doesn't make any sense.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Kindergartens are wonderful places and my kids had a fantastic time there, and were set up beautifully for their future.

I agree - 1:30 ratio is bad enough in a classroom with 4-6 year olds, but in a pool - absolutely wrong. It would be impossible for 1 person to adequately supervise 30 kids in a pool, and this is what happens as a result. I feel sorry for the teacher to be honest. She probably had no choice. I feel sorry for the parents, sorry for the child, but I think the true culprit - the principal and the education dept - have got away scot free.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

rickyveeMar. 25, 2014 - 11:29PM JST

how could a 3-year old have drowned in 20-30 cm of water? at that age, he would have been around 110-120 cm. unless he was held or pushed down, it doesn't make any sense.

Children much older than 3yo have been known to drown in water no more than 20cm deep.

Shallow water blackout - caused by hyperventilation prior to swimming or diving. The primary urge to breathe (more precisely: to exhale) is triggered by rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the bloodstream.[11] The body detects CO2 levels very accurately and relies on this to control breathing.[11] Hyperventilation artificially depletes this, but leaves the diver susceptible to sudden loss of consciousness without warning from hypoxia. There is no bodily sensation that warns a diver of an impending blackout, and victims (often capable swimmers swimming under the surface in shallow water) become unconscious and drown quietly without alerting anyone to the fact that there is a problem; they are typically found on the bottom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drowning

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@falseflagsteve

I have stated many times that day care and kindergartens are a bad thing and yet again i am proved correct.

Either you are NOT a parent or you have a vast "fortune" and can afford to keep servants to take care of the kids... (Poor kids in the latter case ! They'll never learn to make friends with other kids their age...)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I have stated many times that day care and kindergartens are a bad thing and yet again i am proved correct.

Wow, you set the bar low. If one incident out of literally millions (thousandsd of kindergarten kids use pools every school day in Japan) is enough for you to declare something is a bad thing, then how do you ever leave the house? Someone has been hit by a car while walking on the road before. How do you ever use a pool? Even people who know how to swim have drowned in pools before. How do you even eat? Sometimes food has food poisoning and people get sick. How do you get in a car? Cars are known to get in accidents.

Japanese kindergartens are awesome.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Worked as a certified lifeguard for several years we've had more lifeguards on duty when there were 30 swimmers in a pool. The 30-to-1 ratio is fine in a classroom situation but the pool is a completely different environment than that of a classroom. One person has only one pair of eyes and trying to cover all 30 children is unthinkable.

The responsibility lies with the school, not the teacher.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@FightingViking, What!

My kids when that age were looked after their family when they were that age. Do you really believe that to avoid these places you need to have a "vast" fortune and pay for servants?

Strangerland, My post are also based on facts that authorites in all countries are reluctant to make public as they want all adults in the workforce to raise GDP. Kindergartens and daycare places are great places for people who like doing harm to kids. These places attract the same types who become priests, boy scout leaders and work at childrens homes. Are all the workers like that? No, of course not but plenty are worldwide.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

In that case kids should never go to any school then right? After all those same people could become school teachers.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Kids enter kindergarten at 3 years old, not 2. And for the first year, they have 2 teachers, with additional teachers available for support.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

By law, for a class of 3 year-olds, there needs to be 1 teacher for 15 children. If there are 30 children in the class, they have to have 2 teachers - as the kids get older, one teacher can be responsible for more children but for a class of 3 year olds, one teacher is not enough - by law.

I am not sure if there were actually 2 teachers but perhaps just during that time the other teacher was gone?? Not sure..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JeffLeeMar. 25, 2014 - 10:06PM JST

No one's at fault. Accidents do happen. That's life.

some, if not most, accidents can be prevented if people were more careful or had more forethought. by your logic, a drunk driver who "accidently" kills a pregnant woman walking her child along the street isn't responsible becaue what the heck, accidents happen. i think you'd change your tune if that accident happened to you or your family.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Under the circumstances, one would think that the kindergarten's insurance company would have to pay damages to the child's parents, and considerably more than 500,000, too. That's what we pay insurance companies for, after all.

It is very Japanese - we do everything together in the good times, but when the proverbial hits the fan, you're very much on your own. Poor kid and poor teacher.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Our kindergarten requires that we take out insurance on our kids on top of their insurance.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If a child didnt go to any form of preschool or kindergarten in Japan, they would be at home until age 6, almost 7 if their birthday is in April/May. All experts agree that this is not healthy for a childs development to be stuck at home with no formal education for that long. That is why kids go to school at 3-4 in Japan, 4+ in the UK, 4-5 in the US, 5 in Canada, etc, and most developed countries also offer shorter age-appropriate programs starting at age 3+ to prepare them for school. For example 12 hours per week in 5 2 1/2 hour sessions in the UK. If your argument is that sending them to school provides access to the more deviant in society then you will have to homeschool for all the school years because that is true of children at any age, not just younger ones. No access to any clubs or organisations either. Yes, theyll be totally safe. But what a shame to miss out on all those experiences.

Unfortuately, isolated cases happen. But they are not so common that any parent with any balanced view need worry to excess about it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So this pool visit was part of class? Was it the school's pool? Why did it take "staff" to notice the boy floating in the pool after the other students got out? Were there no lifeguards at this facility that had "staff"?

Just some of the questions that popped into my head after reading this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

only 1 teacher over 30 kids?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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