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Bad behavior by teachers a growing problem

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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.

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Bad behavior by teachers a growing problem

Growing? Hardly, been problem for generations, kids used to get regularly beat in school and no one thought a thing wrong with it.

It's just now things are getting reported more often and folks have better and more accurate sources of information than ever before.

The entire system needs a reboot, from the hiring process through to retirement. The position of a teacher here needs to be separated from the rest of komuin and teachers need to be re-evaluated and if necessary re-licensed or re-accredited every 5 years, to help identify and help those that are potential problems.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

It's just now things are getting reported more often and folks have better and more accurate sources of information than ever before.

@Yubaru

I completely agree.

Several decades ago vicious verbal and physical punishment was widely accepted, and other forms of improper behavior were not taken very seriously — swept under the rug, kept off the books, and often regarded as humorous gossip involving quirky behavior on the part of certain teachers. This is still the case, but to a somewhat lesser degree than before.

At practically any given girls' or co-ed high school in Japan there is at least one male teacher who is married to a former student, with the couple oftentimes having started secretly dating before the girl's graduation.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Should be regulated just like a driver's license.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If you were a bully or attracted to young girls where would you look for a job? Obviously where you could bully or be close to your objects of attraction. Seems like nearly all the PE teachers I ever had were bullies, for example. This means that schools have to be vigilant for these types.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@Sensato

At practically any given girls' or co-ed high school in Japan there is at least one male teacher who is married to a former student, with the couple oftentimes having started secretly dating before the girl's graduation.

Could you identify the problem? I mean, just deciding that dating before graduation is wrong does not constitute an actual problem. A scandal at the school would be a problem. A lover's quarrel at the school would be a problem. However, dating and nobody knowing is not really a problem, especially if you know they were both so sincere they got married.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Moonraker — Although I hated PE at school, it would be infantile to claim that all the teachers were perverts; I think they were probably genuinely trying to help me. I do strongly believe, however that ALL teachers should be strictly vetted — as in most countries, including Japan, they are. Even so, a certain number of weirdos will always get through the net, no matter how fine the mesh.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Even so, a certain number of weirdos will always get through the net, no matter how fine the mesh.

This is the key point. Of course we want to limit this to as few as possible, but so many people seem to have an unrealistic expectation of perfection.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@PSandoz

Although I hated PE at school, it would be infantile to claim that all the teachers were perverts;

I know its much more fun to focus on the sexual aspects. Pretty much just like the article does, blithely shoving aside nearly 4000 teachers accused of corporal punishment to focus on 205 teachers accused of sex offenses. Sex sells.

But Moonraker clearly accused the P.E. teachers of being bullies, not perverts.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

To me it is a combination of a decrease in professional behavior by teachers and better reporting. Teachers used to be looked up to and the position as an educator was revered... now, teachers are just normal people and they're starting to act that way.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

i don't see this as a worrying trend. i think most of those stats have remained the same, and the increase is due to the rise of more contact via smartphones. now, all students can be contacted so easily, but just 5 years ago, this wasn't the case.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Is it possible to "bed 12000 women" over 20 years? This is presumably done during the guy's 20 days of annual holiday, which works out at 30 women per day.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Scrote: This is presumably done during the guy's 20 days of annual holiday

He worked in the Philippines for three years. Among other details, deleted from comments.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Scrote, I agree that really takes some doing. An average of 50 women every month. The guy must have spent an absolute fortune!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is definitely a problem, but I doubt it's growing so much as reports of it are growing, as they should. I can't believe a teacher was only docked 10% of ONE MONTH's pay for verbally sexually harassing a student when that teacher should at the very least be fired. I agree with the teachers not being allowed to send email to students of a personal nature, however emails should definitely be allowed in terms of school events (ex. for organizing, meeting places, etc.) or other extra-curricular functions if needed, and if requested teachers should be able to give an email to students who have graduated (if they want to, for some reason).

Now, that said, if Shunkan Weekly turned their study towards the police, politicians, or any other facet of society they would find the same, if not much worse, behaviour -- especially by the police.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This is one of the reasons I decided to leave Japan and have kids in NZ. Japan is not a particularly safe society for kids these days.

A lot more needs to be done before Japan can count itself as a member of the developed world in terms of child safety and well-being.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

To me it is a combination of a decrease in professional behavior by teachers and better reporting. Teachers used to be looked up to and the position as an educator was revered... now, teachers are just normal people and they're starting to act that way.

Looked up to, revered and more importantly feared. The teachers back then were just as perverted as today and the article conveniently tries to make it sound like this is something new in the following here, to justify the title and subject of the article;

Noteworthy offenses include illegal corporal punishment of students, involving 3953 teachers, up 1.8-fold from 2012;

And probably down 1000 fold from as recent as 10 years ago, when things like this were never reported in the first place because it was accepted behavior.

Folks shouldnt be faked into believing the facts here.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I trust the more serious offenders were dismissed from their positions.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bad behaviour by teachers is not a new or growing problem, it has always been a big problem. Teachers have had affairs with students as long as there have been teachers and students. When I was a high school student, we knew our head music teacher was sleeping with a couple of different students, but he was a fun teacher who got along well with students, no one ever turned him in. He liked girls, girls liked him, and the boys in class admired his style. In Junior high school there was a coach who insisted that every male gym student take a shower every day, and he would stand in the shower and watch every male student wash. He also liked to inspect jock straps by putting his hand inside the front of students' shorts. What else he might have done I have no idea, yet he worked as a coach for years.

I am glad that more of these people are being caught, but it is not due to the fact that more problems are occurring, the times have changed, and young people are finding these acts increasingly unacceptable.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Terrible reporting. Corporal punishment increases a whopping 1.8 times, and absolutely nothing is reported on it. "Obscene" (loaded word) behavior up less than 10%, which could very easily be nothing more than a rise due to an increased willingness to report it, and it's practically the focus of the article. I guess that's what happens when we get our news from weekly tabloids instead of, you know, the news.

If there were actually a trend of teachers misbehaving (like there seems to be with the corporal punishment) then I'm all for an investigation and administrative response. But this is nothing more than a sleazy "OMG these people you trust get up to the most salacious stuff! Buy our magazine and we'll tell you all the gossip!" Waste of ink.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Could you identify the problem? I mean, just deciding that dating before graduation is wrong does not constitute an actual problem. A scandal at the school would be a problem. A lover's quarrel at the school would be a problem. However, dating and nobody knowing is not really a problem, especially if you know they were both so sincere they got married.

Living Memory - So sex between a teacher and an underage student is fine as long as you don't get caught. Check.

I don't know whats greasier, the post or the few people who actually gave it a thumbs up.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I would like to see parents and society in general to stand up to creating some real change in the education system - a mass protest by refusing to send kids (or the whole class) to school would create some points. I realize parents feel they would be penalized or bullied, but we really need to create a better atmosphere for education.

Imagine a group of teenagers filing into the gym assembly without making a sound -- I can't but this is what happened in a school where my friend was going to give a guest lecture. I was ready to tell everyone to get out (including the teachers) and come into the gym naturally, but my friend told them in the lecture instead.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This kind of behavior is hardly limited to teachers...we've got a huge population working way too many hours with too little time engaging in more accepted sexual outlets. (Well, I'm assuming since there's the lack of children and all)

Though really... when you live in a country that encourages these things in round about ways, what do you expect?

Plenty of examples:

*A 12 year old boy tried to introduce me to a manga/anime "7 deadly sins", where the running gag was the main character copping a feel whenever he could and/or guessing breast sizes. I get that's what 12 year old boys are into...and that sex sells..but there are more tasteful ways to go about it no? He thought it was funny.

*AKB48 - because girls who dance in lingerie and flashing more skin than an 80s beach flick sells, so it's ok right? For the song Heavy Rotation, the youngest girl in the video is 13. And she's in the bath tub appearing to be naked. (Per Google, the member Matsui Jurina was born in 1997, and the Heavy Rotation was released in 2010)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A new code of conduct has to be drawn up or made for teachers which covers behavior in and outside of school. The code should set out the expected behavior, practice, and values demonstrated and shared by teachers across the profession, regardless of their role or where they work. By developing a new code of conduct it will help to support their profession and articulate its shared values and expectations about behavior and practice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A new code of conduct has to be drawn up or made for teachers which covers behavior in and outside of school. The code should set out the expected behavior, practice, and values demonstrated and shared by teachers across the profession, regardless of their role or where they work. By developing a new code of conduct it will help to support their profession and articulate its shared values and expectations about behavior and practice.

Problem is that this would not work because the teachers here are koumuin or Japanese government employees,so the code that you suggest would have to cover all of them too......see where that heads?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think the problem is actually decreasing, not growing. Yes, on paper it's clearly worse, but it's because the incidents are being reported more. There should be stricter punishments for such offenses, like losing your teaching license (for starters). It's disgusting to think some teachers are reprimanded for sexual offenses by being sent to another school.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is the textbook definition of a vice crusade.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"a 38-year-old Hiroshima teacher docked 10% of a month’s pay for verbal sexual harassment of a former student"

That seems like an absurdly lax punishment.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If a teacher gets caught for DUI they lose everything, If they beat a student they get a school transfer. Parents', school system and police have failed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With regards to the man who bedded thousands of girls in the Phils, if those girls weren't forced to do so then why the noise? Just consider that giving those girls a job. Some Jmen have images to protect and pockets that aren't bottomless hence they release their sex drives to places like my country. It would really be different if those girls were forced or were scammed. Some girls in my country are getting more materialistic and uses their bodies in exchange for cash. Why give 100% fault to the Jman.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Many of those girls were underage, and he is in a position of authority over minors, which was the scandal at the time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An Aussie dude got fired at my previous eikaiwa gakkou for asking for a BJ from a Joshikousei in his "man to man" lesson cubicle and she told her dad. He always hugged his female students too lol. Didn't become a police incident though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how many of the teachers involved in illegal corporal punishment were jailed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

F4HA604: That's just wrong dude.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With regards to the man who bedded thousands of girls in the Phils, if those girls weren't forced to do so then why the noise? Just consider that giving those girls a job. Some Jmen have images to protect and pockets that aren't bottomless hence they release their sex drives to places like my country. It would really be different if those girls were forced or were scammed. Some girls in my country are getting more materialistic and uses their bodies in exchange for cash. Why give 100% fault to the Jman.

trinklets2 - I have a hard time believing you yourself are Filipino if you have that much disregard for your own women.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An Aussie dude got fired

I'm gona open a new can of worms here by saying this "Aussie dude" is not even a real teacher. The thread is talking about Teachers, not people who used to flip-burgers for minimum wage & decided to come to japan all of a sudden-

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Perhaps giving the teachers (or any employees) more time for a personal life may improve things a little. I guess that many teachers don't have much work/life balance, have family time and time for a decent marriage.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Stacy. Agree totally, but this is Japan. Where work ethic and devotion to your employers supercedes balancing any kind of family life or decent marriage. "Karoshi" is in their DNA sadly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A JHS principal is alleged to have bedded 12,000 women?

WTF! Was his name Wilt Chamberlain? 12,000?! No way, I can't believe that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WTF! Was his name Wilt Chamberlain? 12,000?! No way, I can't believe that.

I thought the same thing when the original article came out, but it appears to be true. He lived there for three years, and made over 60 trips over 10 or something years. He was sleeping with up to 10 girls a day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not growing. It's just being enforced now more than in the past. People pay more attention to student complaints these days, and what would have been quietly shrugged off or swept quietly away under the rug and now topics for media headlines.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Teachers are NOT necessarily the problem.

I have two young-ones (girls) in school. I have participated in many PTA and other activities over the years as a foreigner parent.

I have also taught English speech communication to kindergarten thorough college students and adults over the past three years both privately and in school environments.

The first and primary problem with teacher misbehavior is with their own personal environment and problems socially and domestically.

The seconds is the national, top down educational system itself with rules, regulations and otherwise which not only dictate academic but social and moral standards as well as policies and procedures. The worst of which is socially forced status by the kind and level of education on has, which system is based on test scores. (Originating from an ancient Chinese practice where social and political status was given and determined by the level of tests passed.) That other than in areas such as research, often results in those who has the best memory and recall and an ability to take tests, advance to positions without any guarantee of the ability "perform" any given task well.

The third factor is laws that prohibit application of policies on an individual and situational or circumstantial basis, where "one rule" or "one policy" MUST apply to ALL. Such a system invites "frustration" at all levels. In some cases that results in complacency.

The fourth factor if the current social structure where many parents are extremely well educated and able but not willing to take the responsibility of "helping" or "assisting" their own children in their education, but "expect" and "demand" that through their teachers and the system. Because they are well educated the standard is based on their own should be, could be, and would be it may not match what the system can provide. A word most misused "ATARIMAE". They often forget that school is a place of "learning" and NOT "teaching".

The fifth factor is the entire social environment where no one wants to take real "Responsibility" , except may be some of those who have committed crimes that come forward and turn themselves in.

The sixth factor is the False Sense of Pride and "pretense" that the society allows, just for social order and the appearance of "peaceful" and "acceptable" social environment.

The seventh factor is the fact that teaching for many are "employment" and NOT a "profession." Therefore, one forgets that a teacher is no more than a guide and a trainer to lead and help a person (not a child or a kid but an individual) learn how to learn, and to be motivated by themselves to do more and better than those who have preceded them.

The eighth and may be one of the most important factor is that the parents often do not have the relationship with their children to know and understand exactly what is going on with their own children, other than their "expected" or "wanted" idea and view of their children. As a parent they go on the "protection" (protect my child) mode and attack the schools and the system and others in society without the proper introspection. Thus they forget to be the "parent" and "guardian" and become society's prosecutors creating problems for not only the teacher but also the school.

Given that, a teacher who misbehaves are often the very ones that need HELP, not criticism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@kazetsukai. Wow, that was pretty deep and spot on accurate IMO. Great insight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

12,000? That is 600 a year, sounds like a Texas size lie.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ah all the patronizing criticism,

Remember all the sexual deviance involving teachers at your own high school Remember the violence your teachers dished out at your own high school Try to remember a single teacher at your high school who even remotely resembled someone like John Keating Open your eyes at whats happening at your own eikaiwa school; the envy of those Japanese deviants
-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@divine intervention. No offense, but you must've went a really screwed up HS. There are indeed some John Keatings, out there, inspiring kids.

Guess it's just the luck of the draw that some kids (in Japan/US and other modern countries) never had to experience those negative things which you've mentioned.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Violence has almost always been a problem in schools. I remember well the gym teacher who would routinely throw the kids he did not like up against the hallway walls, and nothing was done about it. Or the female teacher who would crack a yardstick over a students knuckles until they started to bleed, and the teacher who would literally yank kids out of their chairs by their ears! And as far as I know, no severe punishment was ever issued to those teachers and they remained employed. By no means am I approving of this type of behavior by teachers, but I remember it very well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Osaka_doug

"Imagine a group of teenagers filing into the gym assembly without making a sound -- I can't but this is what happened in a school where my friend was going to give a guest lecture. I was ready to tell everyone to get out (including the teachers) and come into the gym naturally, but my friend told them in the lecture instead."

I really don't get what you are trying to say, please expand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ divine intervention,

What? Eikaiwa? Two adults no problem. One adult and a minor is a problem. Try to make sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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;

SOMEBODY is fudging the numbers. This very same ministry had a much higher total for 2012 in a 2013 report:

An education ministry survey has found that more than 10,000 students received corporal punishment from more than 5,000 teachers across Japan in fiscal 2012.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/06/03/national/corporal-punishment-rife-in-schools-in-2012-survey/

Using my handy-dandy math skills, I find that 3,953 is 280% of about 1,411. So now the Ministry says 2012 only had about 1,411 cases of teachers inflicting "illegal" corporal punishment (what would be "legal" corporal punishment?), while a mere two years ago they were claiming that over 5,000 teachers were guilty of the offense in 2012. SOMEBODY was obviously told to tone the numbers down in the last two years.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Kitty:

As I understood it, he is saying in that children should be children/laugh/enjoy small stuff, like gossiping on the way to an assembly.

Instead, in that above case, the children entered silently, almost robotically.

@DivineIntervention: I do not recall a single incident of inappropriateness at my school... There were a few minor scuffles..mostly sports related, but no teacher student romance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Anyone recalls this article? Same book, different cover.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/record-number-of-teachers-disciplined-for-corporal-punishment

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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