Let’s begin by saying that most teachers are probably dedicated, skilled professionals who keep their sex lives at or close to home. Then there are the others, with whom Shukan Post (June 5) is concerned. Obscene behavior by teachers is a growing problem, the magazine says. It cites education ministry figures to prove its point.
It’s not just sex, the figures show. It’s also things like violence, drunk driving, use of illegal stimulants.
A total of 9494 teachers in public schools nationwide had to be disciplined in 2013, the ministry says. Noteworthy offenses include illegal corporal punishment of students, involving 3953 teachers, up 1.8-fold from 2012; and obscene behavior towards students and others, involving 205 teachers, up from 187 in 2012 and exceeding 200 for the first time ever.
Obscene behavior takes many forms. Ministry statisticians explore the fine points. The 205 offenses include 56 cases of physical contact, 37 of peeping, 30 of sexual intercourse and 19 of sending students erotic email.
Individual cases cited by the magazine are bound to make a reader wonder what the world is coming to – a 32-year-old Tokyo senior high school teacher dismissed for harassing a student with attentions ranging from prurient email to suggestive remarks to presents and open propositions; a 53-year-old Tokyo high school teacher suspended for furtively photographing a partially-undressed girl in the first-aid room; a 38-year-old Hiroshima teacher docked 10% of a month’s pay for verbal sexual harassment of a former student; and so on.
It’s not just at school. A 64-year-old Yokohama junior high school principal was arrested in connection with sex tourism in the Philippines, where over a period of 20 years he is alleged to have bedded 12,000 women. A 29-year-old Tokyo senior high school teacher was fired after allegedly forcing a kiss on a delivery lady. A 32-year-old Sendai elementary school teacher lost his job after allegedly photographing up a girl’s skirt at a game center.
You naturally cringe at the thought of entrusting your children’s education to these people, and it bears repeating that most teachers do a demanding and stressful job with grace and aplomb. But the number of those who crack under the strain is clearly rising. Why?
“We’re seeing more and more teachers in their 20s involved in scandals,” education writer Yukio Ishikawa tells Shukan Post. “These are the children of the so-called ‘monster parents’ of the 1990s, who spoiled their kids rotten and never taught them that their every wish was not necessarily to be gratified. Consequently, they never developed the faculty of self-control.”
That may be true as far as it goes, but it’s a partial explanation at best, saying nothing, for example, about older offenders who seem hardly less lacking in self-control. Another contributing factor is how easy it’s become, thanks to social networking sites, to force unwanted attention on people. It seems to have removed, or considerably lowered, the distance between teachers and students. In the good old days, they met in the classroom but inhabited different social and psychological spheres. They no longer do.
So disturbing did this appear to the Saitama board of education that, after four of the prefecture’s teachers were alleged to have sent obscene email to students, it established a rule forbidding all teachers under its jurisdiction to send any private email under any circumstances to any students – no excuses, no exceptions.© Japan Today